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The Kept


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About the Author

James Scott was born in Boston and grew up in upstate New York. He holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MFA from Emerson College. His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, American Short Fiction, and other publications. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and dog. The Kept is his first novel.


"Scott is a master of mood... This landscape is more mythic than historic, and Scott's characters are dark brush strokes of appetite and deceit. His central concern, as a storyteller, is the dynamic of consequence." -- New York Times Book Review"[A] bravura debut....It is a testament to the author's artisan-like control that he is able to tease us with Elspeth's crimes from the outset and yet keep the terrible measure of her dereliction at bay until the final clinch, as breathless as it is inevitable." -- Boston Globe"Graceful...unsettling...The Kept is a novel where most everyone harbors dark secrets and most characters are not who they appear to be." -- USA Today"Dark and mysterious... A novel whose daring is found in its bleakness... The plot unfolds with a weighty languor reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy... sparse, elegant... haunting." -- New York Times"Quite an impressive debut novel...James Scott's descriptions of nature and his ability to reveal two complex, tormented people are what make the book live and even sing, albeit a mournful, heartbroken music." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune"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, 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, author of Nothing Gold Can Stay"The Kept is a deeply moving, disconcerting novel... Scott manages something quite difficult here, balancing both terror and tenderness with apparent ease. By the end of the book, you'll be convinced that he can do just about anything." -- Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang"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"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, author of The Good Thief"What a gripping story teller James Scott is and what a dark and lyrical novel he has written. The Kept is a thrilling debut" -- Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy"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)"Scott is both compassionate moralist and master storyteller in this outstanding debut." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"The author has crafted a laudable, compelling, tightly woven tale with memorable characters. Scott writes with an eloquence that urges the reader to return to passages and reread them just to admire his superb skill. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal (starred review)"Scott's first novel epitomizes what's great in this renaissance [of literary Westerns]: economy of dialogue; unsparing realism; the giddiness and terror induced by the knowledge of liberty." -- Maclean's"A vivid, violent, beautiful book...At turns tender and harsh, twisted and lyrical." -- Interview"Half beautiful, half disturbing, [James Scott's lyrical images] decorate The Kept like frescoes in a crumbling cathedral...Feels like the shell of a Cormac McCarthy novel filled with the intricate yearning and familial strife of a Lorca play...A gripping combination." -- The Rumpus

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