The Keeper Paperback
|New from||Used from|
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top Customer Reviews
Indeed, the sheeted dead really do squeak and gibber in the Bedford streets at points, along with other monsters. The monsters of Bedford, though, are the manifestations of all its buried secrets. They have not invaded from Outside.
Langan uses third-person narration to delve into the inner lives of several characters, and does so skillfully without neglecting the atmospheric description necessary to showing the physical and social disintegration of the town as a whole, as both place and imaginative gestalt. At points, she "cuts loose" with visceral, physical horrors, but these things never take over the narrative. This is not a gross-out.
As with so much horror, supernatural events arise from human failure. Child abuse and alcoholism are the chief sins explored here, along with the morally corrosive effects of keeping secrets on both the personal and civic level. Bedford has its own skeletons, literal and figurative, in its closet. The closing of its primary industry before the novel begins becomes, over the course of the novel, a judgment on the town's failings -- and then it becomes something more complex and affecting.
Langan's characters are nicely developed, and their fates, for the most part, evade boiler-plate horror conventions. Startling moments in which the supernatural bursts into the "real" world abound. Through it all, Langan builds a convincing supernatural world populated by flawed human beings. There's evil here, but also hard-won goodness, very faint, very human, absolutely necessary.
The Keeper is the story of a small town rotting from the roots on up. Bedford, Maine, had once prospered, but since the closing of the paper mill, its one source of income and primary source of employment, the town is now dying. Some of the townspeople blame the economy, some blame the mill operators, but many, even the most rational of them, blame Susan Marley, an odd young woman turned town whore, witch and sin-eater. With Susan as its central mass, the disease eating Bedford metastasizes, spreading dreamlike through and into the minds and lives of the town residents.
I have, in the past few months, made a concerted effort to find horror writers who've published their debut in the last five years. Sarah Langan ended up at the top of my short list, especially due to her Bram Stoker Award wins for her second and third novels, The Missing and Audrey's Door. If these are even half as good as The Keeper, then I'd say I've discovered not only a talented new voice in horror fiction, but a new favourite author.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The only problem was that about 3/4 into the book everything ground to a halt for me. As realistic as they were, the characters never felt very likable. So, when Very Bad Things started happening to them, I lost interest in the story. I suspect it was because the characters were already dead in many ways and therefore it felt over the top. I soldiered on because a friend of Langan's had loved the book so much that I wanted to give it a fair read. Ultimately I liked the ending and was glad I got there, but that was a difficult bridge to cross.
That said, I suspect future books by Langan will shine even more brightly. I'll definitely be staying tuned!
The quality of the writing in this novel is simply superb. It's hard to believe that Langan is a first-time novelist. Her prose is both vivid and compelling. Langan has a real gift for characterization and all of the people in this book really came alive for me. In the end, I made an emotional investment in the story and characters of THE KEEPER, which is something that rarely happens with most books I read.
The high quality of Langan's writing compensates for the somewhat creaky plot. This is a relatively slow-paced novel, with a great deal of prose devoted to the inner conflicts of multiple characters. If you're looking for fast moving suspense story, you will probably be disappointed with this novel. There isn't a great deal of action in this novel until the final few scenes.
THE KEEPER is essentially a well crafted literary novel with supernatural overtones. It is more of a spooky read than a thrilling one. You either like this type of novel or you don't. I enjoyed it throughly, and I eagerly look foward to Langan's future books. If she learns to tighten her plotting a bit, she could become the next Peter Straub in my opinion.
Probably unsurprisingly, I didn't love it. I didn't hate it either. Honestly, if I *had* just picked it up at the supermarket somewhere in upstate NY then I probably would have actually been quite pleasantly surprised. Langan isn't at all a bad writer, and seems to have a dab hand at the kind of real little details that generally work very well in horror and supernatural fiction. Liz was often very likable, and I could easily visualize her in her surroundings.
The problem was that even though she got the verisimilitude right, Langan somehow didn't succeed in making me care about the characters. I suspect that she tried to draw the story too widely. I needed to care about the town as much as I cared about the main characters. And that never came together. She might have done better to make it a claustrophobic family story. I suspect that by narrowing the focus, Susan may have been more genuinely frightening. The wider scope on the whole town meant that Langan resorted to pretty typical horror tricks-- vicious dogs, giant spiders, yadda yadda. It kind of felt like pastiche, and the rest of the work didn't really deserve pastiche.
All this said, The Keeper is a first novel. And it probably even counts as a first novel with a fair degree of promise. There's enough in here for me to want to keep an eye on her work and see where she goes.
I was blown away! This novel is written very well and includes creepy and scary stuff that might make your sleep a little restless.
I loved it! Langan is a wonderful writer. Poetic,descriptive without being too Faulknerian, she is awesome.
I cannot wait for a follow-up.
On the other hand, Langan can write. She creates believable characters (I really liked Liz), though sometimes there were conversations that just went on and on without really adding momentum to the story. Langan also has, like King, a good eye for things contemporary. The teens in the Keeper are modern day versions of King's 70s kids. The music, the clothes, the talk, all seemed right to me. But hey, it's a first novel, so ignore the novel's glowing heavy weight blurbs and take it for what it is. The Keeper does have some effective moments, and to my mind is much closer to real horror than another heavily touted new writer, Cherie Priest. This may seem like an overly critical review, but in part this is due to the promise I see with this writer. She seems enthusiastic about the genre, and contemporary horror needs new blood. There's a new crop coming (Lebon, Keene, Link, Priest), and Langan, I suspect, after another novel or so, will be viewed as a major figure in that group.