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Michael Collins' third novel The Keepers of Truth, shortlisted for the 2000 Booker Prize, is set in the American mid-west in the 1980s, as industrial decline eats away at the heart of a small town and July heat delivers a punishing drought. Once thriving with metal manufacturers, the town, "hemmed in by crops that it doesn't pay to grow any more", now boasts trainee managers. Eating is the new pastime. Bill works as a reporter for the Daily Truth, a local newspaper built in a disused foundry. Suffering from an inflated sense of his talent as a philosopher, Bill makes a verbose and often funny narrator, an inept news journalist and, as the novel progresses, a sloppy Private Eye: "I apply philosophy like one applies dressing to a wound."
When Ronny Lawton's father goes missing, Bill has to adjust to the shock of producing copy people will actually read. After a small piece of finger is found, the town rushes to vilify Ronny and trial by media ensues. Before e-mail, at the cusp of the widespread use of answer machines, news travels more slowly and the newspaper men fight a losing battle for ascendancy over television. "I lived in the slipstream of TV's immediacy," says Bill. He ironically designates the paper's editor and photographer the "keepers of truth" and wonders at their apparent ability to ride the edge between banality and scavenging. It later emerges that the women of the town keep truth of a different order.
Being from Ireland with its capacity for nostalgia, Collins handles the town's decay and loss with great pathos and fiercely energetic satire. As an outsider, he is well placed to inhabit a narrator set apart by cynicism, boredom and an intellectual view as moribund as the town's labour history. But in Bill's search for deeper meaning, he stumbles into an understanding of the Lawton murder that the media en masse fail to grasp. Collins has produced a compelling and often profound detective story that takes an athletic swipe at the confused mores of contemporary America--a society consumed. --Cherry Smyth --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This curiously landscaped crime drama, Collins's U.S. debut and a Booker Prize nominee, showcases the author's cool, playful competence. Captivatingly set in a small, nameless rust belt town left far behind in the economic dust, the story loosely hangs on the disappearance of Old Man Lawton. Locals believe he was killed by his no-good son, Ronny, but police don't have enough evidence to make an arrest. Though the official investigation soon comes to a dead end, the search becomes the obsession of the story's narrator, a man referred to only as Bill, who works as a reporter for the town's newspaper, The Truth. Bill pursues the case along with two of his colleagues, Sam and Ed, bumping along in a bizarre, dreamlike hunt that yields few clues, but succeeds at illuminating life in a small town mired in steep decline. Big industrial employers are long gone, replaced by fast food chains and strip malls. Alcoholism runs high. Everybody knows everyone else and, more chillingly, knows each other's secrets and shortcomings. It is no surprise that the search for Old Man Lawton becomes a bloodthirsty affair that brings out the town's true nature. Collins, an American citizen published primarily in his native Ireland (Emerald Underground; The Man Who Dreamt of Lobsters), displays a craftsman's touch throughout this arresting, frequently creepy tale of an America not often viewed.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. See all Product Description
This sleeper that never quite caught the public eye has been shortlisted for all major literary awards, Booker and IMPAC. Read morePublished on June 6 2002 by don mitchell
This starkly realistic novel is a movie waiting to be made. Its cinematic eye provides both the mood and pace to this noir murder mystery. Read morePublished on March 29 2002 by harry bridges
This book definitely held my attention, but it's not close to being a 'great book'. Most of the characters--especially women--boil down to tired stereotypes. Read morePublished on March 28 2002
This is a stunning novel, a novel of our times, a novel that speaks to political and social upheaval. It's prophetic! Read morePublished on March 3 2002 by ronald parks
The Truth in The Keepers of Truth is one of dark forbiddance, a grim look at where our society had gone since the end of industrialism. Read morePublished on March 1 2002 by rachel holtz
This is without a doubt one of those monumental works of fiction that will continue to be read in years to come. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2002 by sarah barker
What a tour de force this book is! I was blown away by the level at which the story probed the demise of industrialism in our country, and how it handled the effect of human... Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2002
This book got a loud, unanimous thumbs-down from my 9-member book club. The woman who suggested it came to our discussion meeting deeply embarrassed and apologetic. Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2002