Friday, September 07, 2007

The Keep

I really enjoyed Jennifer Egan's Look at Me (which I wrote about here and here). The Keep (2006) is also a great read, although slightly less theoretical than the Foucauldian Look at Me. Egan has this very clever way of writing - very accessible, exciting, almost like a tabloid (her characters have a rock star quality, in an effed up Britney/Lindsay kind of way) - but they also appeal to the reader on a much higher intellectual level than they might initially indicate.

The Keep is almost a Gothic novel and has fantastical elements that make the book a really fun page-turner. In it, Danny is invited by his cousin, Howard, to help remodel a castle in Eastern Europe. Danny's eager to leave New York and escape some unexplained spot of trouble, but staying with Howard is awkward because he did something terrible to his cousin when they were children. I won't write anymore because I don't want to ruin it for you.

I'm also reading a book of short stories called This is Not Chick Lit. There are some fabulous short stories by contemporary women writers (including Egan) as well as a rather interesting intro by Elizabeth Merrick that fundamentally annoys me because I don't appreciate the term "chick lit". While (so many!) women are desperately trying to define "chick lit" and rank it in the (largely male-dominated) world of literary "greatness" I'm wondering why we don't celebrate the success of WOMEN writers and that WOMEN readers are are so literary. And if I hear one more person say Jane Austin was the original "chick lit" author, I'm gonna poke them with a Manolo Blahnik.

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