HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Kept by D. J. Taylor
Loading...

Kept (2006)

by D. J. Taylor

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2811740,152 (2.94)15
Recently added byAthenais, woolly, Violetthedwarf, ChewDigest, private library, HillaryV8, moncur_d
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
look, being 'literary' doesn't excuse poor plotting or not having a goddamn ending.

Utterly unsatisfying and confusing.

Look, I read Victorian novels for fun. A book like this should have been my sort of thing. I just don't think Taylor did the Victoriana well. It was far too knowing at times, and far too earnest and others - and honestly, Taylor isn't good enough at writing characters that sound different to manage a book of this scope. It's too easy to get confused between the characters as they all seem so similar. ( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
look, being 'literary' doesn't excuse poor plotting or not having a goddamn ending.

Utterly unsatisfying and confusing.

Look, I read Victorian novels for fun. A book like this should have been my sort of thing. I just don't think Taylor did the Victoriana well. It was far too knowing at times, and far too earnest and others - and honestly, Taylor isn't good enough at writing characters that sound different to manage a book of this scope. It's too easy to get confused between the characters as they all seem so similar. ( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
A few modern novels set in the Victorian Age read like they might have actually been written during that period. D.J. Taylor's "Kept" (2007) is one of them. Taylor, better known as the biographer of George Orwell and William Thackeray than as a novelist, shows a gift for writing in a Victorian voice.

Of course, this Victorian voice does make his book a bit of a challenge for modern readers. Two oddities about the novel add to the difficulties.

1. The story has no protagonist. The title refers to an attractive widow who is being held against her will in a spooky country home belonging to to man whose main interests are collecting bird eggs and raising vicious dogs. This man, James Dixey, eventually falls in love with his prisoner, Isabel Ireland. Yet neither of these characters, nor anyone other character in the novel, can really be called the main character. There is no main character. The plot shifts from scene to scene, from character to character, making it difficult for readers to find a high point from which to view the whole story.

2. Most fiction is told either from an omniscient, third-person point of view or from a limited first-person point of view. In other words, the narrator either knows everything or only what one particular character in the story happens to know. In "Kept," Taylor strangely employs both points of view at the same time. Phrases like "it seems to me" and "I think" abound throughout the novel, suggesting that the story is being told by some close observer of events. Yet a few sentences later this narrator is revealing characters' thought and private actions, things only an omniscient narrator could know. It's a bit bothersome not knowing who this first-person narrator is or how he happens to know so much about a story that involves so many different locales and so many different characters.

Despite these difficulties and these oddities, I found "Kept" to be enjoyable reading ( )
  hardlyhardy | Nov 25, 2013 |
This tries to out-Victorian the Victorians, and ends up with too many subplots - even Dickens knew where to draw the line! This is the problem I find with a lot of neo-Victorian novels, over-egging the pudding. Bit of pruning needed. ( )
  mlfhlibrarian | Nov 11, 2013 |
Quit. ( )
  picardyrose | Oct 20, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
DJ Taylor has crafted a satisfying 19th-century soup, but fails to engage the emotions in Kept, says Susan Hill
added by simon_carr | editThe Guardian, Susan Hill (Feb 11, 2006)
 
This clever and hugely readable novel constantly subverts its readers' expectations. It would be unfair to reveal the ending but it is fair to say that Taylor promises, tongue in cheek, one sort of novel and gives us quite another.
 
Julian Barnes in Arthur and George developed a documentary approach which produced something that was more history than fiction and will prove to be a fertile innovation. D.J. Taylor, in this novel with footnotes, extracts, and appendices, is blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction yet further. It is a powerful contribution to the changing practice of historical fiction, and it succeeds as a novel in its own right. ‘Pon my word it does!
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Please to remember that I am a Victorian, and that the Victorian tree cannot but be expected to bear Victorian fruit.--M. R. James
Beneath the signs there lay something of a different kind.--A la recherche du temps perdu
Dedication
To my mother
First words
I will happily declare that there is no sight so harmonious to the eye or suggestive to the spirit as Highland scenery.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061146080, Hardcover)

Egg-stealing in the Scottish highlands, fraud and felony on the streets of London, and strange goings-on in the fens...Captivating and ingenious, full of suspense and teeming with life, "Kept" is a Victorian mystery about the extreme and curious things men do to get what they want. In August, 1863 - Henry Ireland, a failed landowner, dies unexpectedly in a riding accident, leaving a highly-strung young widow. Not far away lives Ireland's friend James Dixey, a celebrated naturalist who collects strange trophies, a stuffed bear, a pet mouse, and a wolf that he keeps caged in the grounds of his decaying house, lost in the fog on the edge of the fens. The poachers, Dewar and Dunbar, with their cargo of pilfered eggs; Esther the observant kitchen maid, pining to be re-united with her vanished admirer; the ancient lawyer Mr Crabbe made careless by snobbery; John Carstairs, in search of his cousin, the elusive widow; an enigmatic debt-collector, busily plotting an audacious robbery; various low-life henchmen; and Captain McTurk of Scotland Yard, patiently investigating the circumstances of the Mr Ireland's death and many other things besides - all are drawn into a net of intrigue with wide and sinister implications. Ranging from the lochsides of Scotland to the slums of Clerkenwell, and from the gentlemen's clubs of St James's to the Yukon wilds, "Kept" is a gorgeously intricate novel about the urge to possess, at once a gripping investigation of some of the secret chambers of the human heart and a dazzling re-invention of Victorian life and passions.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:58 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In the aftermath of a failed landowner's accidental death, his fragile young widow struggles to survive, his naturalist friend keeps a series of unusual pets, and an enigmatic debt collector plots an audacious robbery.

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
9 avail.
31 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (2.94)
0.5
1 7
1.5 1
2 12
2.5 2
3 17
3.5 4
4 15
4.5 1
5 3

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,379,802 books! | Top bar: Always visible