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Award-winning author Jennifer Egan brilliantly conjures a world from which escape is impossible and where the keep –the tower, the last stand –is both everything worth protecting and the very thing that must be surrendered in order to survive.
Two cousins, irreversibly damaged by a childhood prank, reunite twenty years later to renovate a medieval castle in Eastern Europe. In an environment of extreme paranoia, cut off from the outside world, the men reenact the signal event of their youth, with even more catastrophic results. And as the full horror of their predicament unfolds, a prisoner, in jail for an unnamed crime, recounts an unforgettable story that seamlessly brings the crimes of the past and present into piercing relation.
where inmates keep eggs under lights and then raise the baby lizards or what have you until they’re big enough to be sold in a pet store. Tom-Tom’s our gecko man. They’re medium-sized, the brightest green you ever saw. He takes them outside on leashes made out of string and lets them run around in the dirt. He rubs their shiny little heads and kisses their lizardy lips. Maybe a year ago, a horror show named Quince walked up to where Tom-Tom’s geckos were playing in the yard and put his boot
few feet above Danny’s head. He stood back and studied one of these openings—vertical and horizontal slits meeting in the shape of a cross—and in the hundreds of years since those slits had been cut, the rain and snow and what have you must have opened up this one a little bit more. Speaking of rain, a light sprinkling was starting that wasn’t much more than a mist, but Danny’s hair did a weird thing when it got wet that he couldn’t fix without his blow dryer and a certain kind of mousse that was
you’ve stayed awake continuously for two hours, we can stop the thirty-minute checks. And as long as you get there within fifteen hours of the injury, which was—he checked his watch—about nine hours ago, we don’t have to go any further. Danny: Further with what? Howard: Well, the next step would be to airlift you to a hospital for a brain scan. He said this casually, like it was basically nothing, and that gave him away. Howard was scared Danny was seriously fucked up—fucked up enough to die.
robbery, when he twists an old man’s arm and breaks it in three places. Tom-Tom stops. Turns out he read us the whole thing. No one says a word, and finally Tom-Tom laughs in a nervous way and says, Guess you were too bored to stop me, huh? Holly checks the clock, then her watch. Her eyes are funny, like she’s been sleeping. Okay, she says. Let’s talk about it. Allan Beard starts off with the same comment he always makes: he wants more context. Beard’s a context freak, can’t get enough of it.
surprised to react. How did he get to Martha so quickly? It seemed impossible. Martha: Hello?…Hello? I’m not hearing any— Danny: Martha. Her whole voice changed. It dropped and seemed to get even closer. Danny, is that you? Are you…oh my God, I’ve been worried out of my mind! Martha? Oh, honey. Are you—what the fuck is going on over there? I’m not sure. You sound funny. Danny couldn’t believe it was Martha. It seemed too sudden, too much in denial of how far away he felt. Martha? Danny,