The Captive Condition: Book summary and reviews of The Captive Condition by Kevin P. Keating

The Captive Condition

A Novel

by Kevin P. Keating

The Captive Condition by Kevin P. Keating X
The Captive Condition by Kevin P. Keating
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2015
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

For years Normandy Falls has been haunted by its strange history and the aggrieved spirits said to roam its graveyards. Despite warnings, Edmund Campion is determined to go there and pursue an advanced degree in literature. At first things proceed wonderfully, but Edmund soon learns he isn't immune to the impersonal trappings of fate: his girlfriend Morgan Fey smashes his heart, his advisor Professor Martin Kingsley crushes him with frivolous assignments, and his dead end job begins to take a toll on his physical and mental health.

One night he stumbles upon the body of Emily Ryan, a proud and unapologetic "townie," drowned in her family pool. Was it suicide, Edmund wonders, or murder? In the days following the tragedy, Emily's husband Charlie, crippled by self-loathing and ultimately frozen with fear, attempts to flee his disastrous life and sends their twin daughters to stay with the Kingsleys. Possessed with an unnamed, preternatural power, the twins know the professor seduced their mother and may have had a hand in her death. With their piercing stares, the girls fill Martin with the remorse and dread he so desperately tries to hide from his wife.

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 and psychedelic, attends a New Year's Eve retrospective that is destined to set the whole town on fire.

Delving into the deepest recesses of the human capacity for evil, Kevin P. Keating's masterful novel will hold readers captive from first to last.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A black comedy that transcends its own offbeat energy and becomes truly disturbing ... A darkly funny read and a stylistic tour de force." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A weird and wonderfully rendered universe ... 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." - Library Journal

"There's a substantial gap between the author's dark vision and the characters who must enact it." - Kirkus Reviews

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More Information

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, Cleveland State University, and Lorain County Community College.

His essays, stories and reviews have appeared in over fifty literary journals, including Salon, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Blue Lake Review, The Fifth Street Review, The Mad Hatter's Review, The Avatar Review, The North Coast Review, The Licking River Review, The Red Rock Review, Whiskey Island, Juked, Inertia, Identity Theory, Exquisite Corpse, Wordriver, and many others.

The Natural Order of Things, his first full-length book, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes/First Fiction Award. The novel has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist and praise from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler.

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