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The Captive Condition: A Novel
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2015
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Description
For years Normandy Falls has been haunted by its strange history and aggrieved spirits said to roam its graveyards. Despite warnings, Edmund Campion is determined to move there to pursue a graduate degree. One night Edmund stumbles upon the body of Emily Ryan drowned in her family pool. Was it suicide, Edmund wonders, or murder? Elsewhere, a low-level criminal named The Gonk takes over a remote cottage, complete with a burial ground and moonshine still, and devises plans for both; Xavier D'Avignon, the eccentric chef of a failing French restaurant, supplies customers with a hallucinogenic cocktail he makes in his kitchen; and Colette Collins, an elderly local artist of the surreal, attends a New Year's Eve retrospective that is destined to set the whole town on fire.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/07/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780804169295
ASIN:
B00OEXJB5O
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kevin P. Keating. (2015). The Captive Condition: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kevin P. Keating. 2015. The Captive Condition: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kevin P. Keating, The Captive Condition: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kevin P. Keating. The Captive Condition: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:00:40
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: After working as a boilermaker in the steel mills in Ohio, Kevin P. Keating became a professor of English and began teaching at Baldwin Wallace University. His essays and stories have appeared in numerous literary journals. He lives in Cleveland.
      • name: Kevin P. Keating
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title
The Captive Condition
fullDescription
For years Normandy Falls has been haunted by its strange history and aggrieved spirits said to roam its graveyards. Despite warnings, Edmund Campion is determined to move there to pursue a graduate degree. One night Edmund stumbles upon the body of Emily Ryan drowned in her family pool. Was it suicide, Edmund wonders, or murder? Elsewhere, a low-level criminal named The Gonk takes over a remote cottage, complete with a burial ground and moonshine still, and devises plans for both; Xavier D'Avignon, the eccentric chef of a failing French restaurant, supplies customers with a hallucinogenic cocktail he makes in his kitchen; and Colette Collins, an elderly local artist of the surreal, attends a New Year's Eve retrospective that is destined to set the whole town on fire.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The Plain Dealer
      • content: "A carefully crafted, darkly humorous work, pulsating with our passion for revenge."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "An engaging memoir chronicling several years of Layne Mosler's unique and nomadic life. . . . An invigorating read, a paean to taking the serendipitous road to wherever it happens to lead."
      • premium: False
      • source: James Renner, The Cleveland Scene
      • content: "Let's get this part out of the way: this is a breakthrough novel, one that makes a career. . . . The plot is juicy but it's Keating's wordplay that draws a reader in. . . . Keating's got those nice long sentences and can always grasp the exact right archaic word like Franzen or David Foster Wallace. But anyone who's read classic horror can quickly see he's more influenced by the words of Poe and Lovecraft than those pretentious Writer's Lab types."
      • premium: False
      • source: Mystery Scene Magazine
      • content: "Literary novels, horror, and humor seldom mix--fantasist Christopher Moore being one of the rare exceptions--but now comes Kevin P. Keating to deliver a brilliant novel so dark, yet so laugh-out-loud funny, that he's close to inventing a new genre."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly, starred review
      • content: "A black comedy that transcends its own offbeat energy and becomes truly disturbing. . . . Shows Keating to be an astute student of spooky scene-setters from Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King to David Lynch. But in many of the final passages, such as a horrific building fire, Keating proves to be at least their equal. . . . A darkly funny read and a stylistic tour de force."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal, starred review
      • content: "A weird and wonderfully rendered universe. . . . Heavily cadenced prose and A-level vocabulary, along the lines of Tristan Egolf's Lord of the Barnyard. . . . A highly literary look at the faces of evil in almost all of its guises. . . . Oh, and many characters here are constantly high on psychedelic carrot juice."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kent Wascom, author of The Blood of Heaven
      • content: "The roots of American fiction run dark and mad, and Kevin Keating's The Captive Condition is the wicked blossom of that heritage. A rare achievement, bitingly intelligent, masterful in style, and of such horror as to chill the blood. Keating's haunted town of Normandy Falls and its besotted academics, its hard-bitten locals, all in their various descents into the maelstrom, never cease to fascinate and unsettle. The Captive Condition is an American horror story in the truest sense, a gothic vivisection of a town and gown in the blighted Midwest. A frightening, gorgeous, and wickedly funny pre-mortem performed on both academia and the Rust Belt. With The Captive Condition, Keating gives us an apocalyptic vision that Poe or Brockton Brown might have imagined in their wildest moments. Lovers of literary darkness should greet this novel and its author with joy and acclaim."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jeff Jacobson, author of Sleep Tight
      • content: "Haunting and evocative, full of images and a voice that will leave scars, Keating's impressive tale of seething hatred and simmering class warfare lurking under a small Midwestern town is lyrical and achingly beautiful. Beware though, there's a very dark, ferocious heart beating within that will plunge the reader into darkness without warning, like Francis Bacon attacking a Norman Rockwell painting."
      • premium: False
      • source: Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of Triburbia
      • content: "Kevin P. Keating is the Edgar Allen Poe of the rust belt, reinvigorating our abandoned factories and blighted warehouses, making that machinery work again to produce ornate, beautifully rendered, modern, gothic horror."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Emotionally and psychologically complex, chilling and deliciously dark."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from May 25, 2015
        Keating’s sophomore novel (after The Natural Order of Things) is a black comedy that transcends its own offbeat energy and becomes truly disturbing. Jesuit-educated Edmund Campion is attending graduate school in the small Midwestern town of Normandy Falls. When his master’s thesis topic is rejected by his self-important advisor, Dr. Kingsley, Edmund drops out and takes a job as a campus groundskeeper, working for a brutal supervisor known only as the Gonk. Meanwhile, Kingsley’s lover, Emily Ryan, is found dead in her swimming pool, and Kingsley and his amateur bodybuilder wife end up taking in Emily’s disturbed twin daughters. Morgan Fey, Edmund’s ex-girlfriend, takes a job in a French restaurant, where the chef brews up the hallucinogenic carrot juice that is the town’s drug of choice. This is only the beginning: hauntings, murders, live burials, and imprisonment in underground chambers are just some of the fates that lie in store for various unsuspecting townsfolk. The comically formal tone of the first two-thirds shows Keating to be an astute student of spooky scene-setters from Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King to David Lynch. But in many of the final passages, such as a horrific building fire, he proves to be at least their equal. It’s a mysterious novel, both in terms of its plot and its ambitions—the book’s biggest missed opportunity is that its world feels a bit too hermetic and detached from our own—but it’s also a darkly funny read and a stylistic tour de force.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        May 1, 2015
        Keating's second novel is a study of small-town misery and depravity, with Gothic trimmings. Normandy Falls is a Rust Belt town bordering the Great Lakes. It has dying industries and a college whose founder, Nathaniel Wakefield, abandoned scholarship for satanic practices and sired 12 "children of sin" whose descendants infect the town. One of the students, who narrates occasionally in the first person before yielding to others' viewpoints, is Edmund Campion, named, puzzlingly, after the English martyr. His faculty adviser, Martin Kingsley, is married but conducting an affair with a townie, Emily Ryan. Emily's husband, Charlie, is a frequently absent merchant mariner, so Emily must raise their malicious 8-year-old twin daughters alone. The strain has driven her to drink, and early on she's found floating in her pool, an apparent suicide. Keating's novel has many similarities to his debut, The Natural Order of Things (2014): the post-industrial town, the lack of a protagonist, the humiliations heaped on his unpleasant characters (even Kingsley's young son is a "horror-movie toddler"), and the use of hyperbole; over-the-top is Keating's favorite place. Much of the novel belongs to three dissolute middle-aged men: Charlie Ryan, back for his wife's funeral; Xavier, chef/owner of the downtown bistro; and the Gonk, the college's director of maintenance and (shivers) a Wakefield descendant. The Gonk owns an antiquated still, and his moonshine is the main ingredient of a popular drink, The Red Death. (Emily had the recipe.) Its only rival is Xavier's concoction, a psychedelic juice using the jazar carrot. Keating may not like his characters, but he lingers lovingly on these drinks. He steers the novel erratically toward two murders, a mass drowning, and a "fantastical hellscape" waiting for faculty guests at a New Year's Eve ceremony. There's a substantial gap between the author's dark vision and the characters who must enact it.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 15, 2015

        People in the know are talking about this new work from Keating, a former steel mill's boilermaker who became an English professor and literary journal regular until his small press first novel, The Natural Order of Things, was named a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction in 2012. In this second novel, a married college professor guiltily assumes responsibility for the twin daughters of his drowned lover even as a petty criminal takes over a recluse's cottage with plans for its moonshine still and graveyard and the town itself gets uncontrollably creepy after sundown. Classed as literary, but the book will be featured at a thriller/horror panel at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con, with outreach to mystery and horror bloggers in the works.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2015

        A Catholic school preppy enrolls in a seemingly idyllic Midwestern university that is anything but. Academic troubles doom him; his pompous and prolix mentor snubs him; and he comes to work for a medium-level criminal known as the Gonk, at the power plant, aka the Bloated Tick. Then, the mentor's mistress drowns drug-addled in her pool, her creepily prescient twins come to live with the mentor, trash his house and then freeze to death in a barn, after which their ghosts doom their seaman father to freezing. Then the Gonk takes revenge on his ex and her new love, who becomes the first of two in this book to be buried alive. The preppy takes revenge on the mentor, but only after all the other Tick workers die at sea. Oh, and many characters here are constantly high on psychedelic carrot juice. You get the idea. Many complicated plots weave and intertwine in a weird and wonderfully rendered universe. Also, there's heavily cadenced prose and A-level vocabulary, along the lines of Tristan Egolf's Lord of the Barnyard. VERDICT Not an academic send-up a la Richard Russo or Jon Hassler but a highly literary look at the faces of evil in almost all of its guises. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/14.]--Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        May 1, 2015

        A Catholic school preppy enrolls in a seemingly idyllic Midwestern university that is anything but. Academic troubles doom him; his pompous and prolix mentor snubs him; and he comes to work for a medium-level criminal known as the Gonk, at the power plant, aka the Bloated Tick. Then, the mentor's mistress drowns drug-addled in her pool, her creepily prescient twins come to live with the mentor, trash his house and then freeze to death in a barn, after which their ghosts doom their seaman father to freezing. Then the Gonk takes revenge on his ex and her new love, who becomes the first of two in this book to be buried alive. The preppy takes revenge on the mentor, but only after all the other Tick workers die at sea. Oh, and many characters here are constantly high on psychedelic carrot juice. You get the idea. Many complicated plots weave and intertwine in a weird and wonderfully rendered universe. Also, there's heavily cadenced prose and A-level vocabulary, along the lines of Tristan Egolf's Lord of the Barnyard. VERDICT Not an academic send-up a la Richard Russo or Jon Hassler but a highly literary look at the faces of evil in almost all of its guises. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/14.]--Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
70
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shortDescription
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