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The Keep by Jennifer Egan
In The Keep, Danny and Howard are cousins, with Howard still bearing a grudge against Danny for a childhood prank that left him lost in a cave for days. Now wealthy, Howard buys a castle in Eastern Europe and invites Danny to help him renovate it into a world-class hotel. Danny is eager to get away from trouble hounding him in New York, but finds the isolation of the castle unnerving. The castle holds its own secrets: hidden passages, a dungeon, a history of murder, and a walled-off keep at its center, containing a surprise for them both. A prisoner named Ray takes a writing class to escape a cruel cellmate, and writes of a story he heard about two cousins who renovate an isolated castle. His writing instructor, Holly, recounts Ray's attempt to tell this story. With a tale within a tale, secrets that can't be kept, and walls that can't be overcome, Jennifer Egan's novel has received mostly positive reviews. The St. Petersburg Times says, "Jennifer Egan's smart new novel, The Keep, is one of the best of that genre to come along in a long time, and it's a novel that delivers some genuine suspense while making you care about the characters and their fates."