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Extended Audio Sample The Kept, by James Scott Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Scott Narrator: Kate Udall Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Set in rural New York state at the turn of the twentieth century, superb new talent James Scott makes his literary debut with The Kept—a propulsive novel reminiscent of the works of Michael Ondaatje, Cormac McCarthy, and Bonnie Jo Campbell, in which a mother and her young son embark on a quest to avenge a terrible and violent tragedy that has shattered their secluded family.

In the winter of 1897, a trio of killers descends upon an isolated farm in upstate New York. Midwife Elspeth Howell returns home to the carnage: her husband, and four of her children, murdered. Before she can discover her remaining son Caleb, alive and hiding in the kitchen pantry, another shot rings out over the snow-covered valley. Twelve-year-old Caleb must tend to his mother until she recovers enough for them to take to the frozen wilderness in search of the men responsible.

A scorching portrait of a merciless world—of guilt and lost innocence, atonement and retribution, resilience and sacrifice, pregnant obsession and primal adolescence—The Kept introduces an old-beyond-his-years protagonist as indelible and heartbreaking as Mattie Ross of True Grit or Jimmy Blevins of All the Pretty Horses, as well as a shape-shifting mother as enigmatic and mysterious as a character drawn by Russell Banks or Marilynne Robinson.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Kept starts out as a straightforward revenge narrative, then slowly deepens into something much more mysterious and compelling. James Scott has written a riveting and memorable debut novel.”

    Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author of The Leftovers

  • “With its vivid sense of time and place, lyrical writing, and complex questions of what constitutes a family, The Kept is an outstanding debut by a bright new voice in American fiction.”

    Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of The Cove

  • The Kept is both a thrilling adventure and a literary triumph. Following the journey of a mother and son who lose everything, only to find each other, James Scott’s haunting tale will astonish and enchant you, the words echoing long after the final pages have turned.”

    Hannah Tinti, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Thief

  • “What a gripping storyteller James Scott is and what a dark and lyrical novel he has written. The Kept is a thrilling debut.”

    Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

  • “A deeply moving, disconcerting novel that showcases what a powerful and ambitious writer James Scott is.”

    Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of The Family Fang

  • “[An] accomplished debut…Scott has produced a work of historical fiction that is both atmospheric and memorable, suffused with dread and suspense right up to the last page.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • The Kept is a brutal and beautiful novel. Written with emotional ascendancy, these rock-ribbed characters illuminate loss, desire, and love. James Scott’s debut is a celebration of bracing action, evocative rendering of the past, and literary precision.”

    Julianna Baggott, author of Girl Talk and Pure

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Selected for the January 2014 Indie Next List
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2014
  • Long-listed for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
  • A January 2014 LibraryReads Pick
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