Friday, September 17, 2010

Jennifer Egan: The Keep

I remember why I started writing these book reviews (to remember which books I've read) but I don't remember how/if I ever wrote fiction reviews. The reviews sort of morphed into something much bigger- discussions of the "issues" and what I thought about them. They've turned into something I really care about- while I'm reading, I'm thinking about what I will write, which is great, because it means I really think about what I'm reading. On the other hand, sometimes I'm reading books, especially fiction, and thinking, what on earth WILL I write? So basically, I'm going to try to simplify fiction reviews, to let myself just read, and to take the pressure off this part.

I don't even really like fiction that much any more, which has nothing to do with blogging. It has to be Really Good Fiction, or to be topical to something I care about a lot, or nonfiction disguised as fiction. Jennifer Egan's "The Keep" was none of those. It was a hand-me-down from Dad, sitting on the shelf for a long time, and I read it in an effort to keep getting through the "Books I Haven't Read" shelves. Yes, there are two shelves, as well as the pile on top of the shelves. I'm guessing that if I do another scan through of my shelves, I can find more "Books I Haven't Read," but I'm going to keep working my way through the existing ones before I let myself do that.

"The Keep" was another one of these magical realism books I keep stumbling on, or maybe some kind of psychological suspense thing. Partly I stumble on them because Dad likes them, and partly because it's popular maybe? I've read some other book by Egan, and remember liking it, but I'm sure I couldn't tell you what it was, or why I liked it. This book was well written, and had some cool twists and turns, especially in the last third, but it also had some not particularly likable characters, and some not particularly believable twists and turns that turned me off. It's very modern- cool to read about texting and internet and not feel like the book was dated, and some of the underdeveloped characters were very well sketched- I knew the type. It's going in the free-pile, though, so if anyone likes this kind of fiction, it's all yours. If it's your kind of fiction, I think it's a good, fast, hard to put down read.


thb said...

I can't remember either which of Egan's first two I really liked. Too many books, too long ago