Centuries of June by Keith Donohue
A Novel

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Keith Donohue has been praised for his vivid imagination and for evoking “the otherworldly with humor and the ordinary with wonder” (Audrey Niffenegger). His first novel, The Stolen Child, was a national bestseller, and his second novel, Angels of Destruction, was hailed as “a magical tale of love and redemption that is as wonderfully written as it is captivating” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Centuries of June is a bold departure, a work of dazzling breadth and technical virtuosity.

Set in the bathroom of an old house just before dawn on a night in June, Centuries of June is a black comedy about a man who is attempting to tell the story of how he ended up on the floor with a hole in his head. But he keeps getting interrupted by a series of suspects—eight women lying in the bedroom just down the hall. Each woman tells a story drawn from five centuries of American myth and legend in a wild medley of styles and voices.

Centuries of June
is a romp through history, a madcap murder mystery, an existential ghost story, and a stunning tour de force at once ingenious, sexy, inspiring, and ultimately deeply moving.

About Keith Donohue

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Keith Donohue is the Director of Communications for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the National Archives in Washington, DC. Until 1998 he worked at the National Endowment for the Arts and wrote hundreds of speeches for chairmen John Frohnmayer and Jane Alexander. He has written articles for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other newspapers. Donohue holds a Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America. His dissertation on Irish writer Flann O'Brien was published as The Irish Anatomist: A Study of Flann O'Brien (Maunsel Press, 2003).
Published May 31, 2011 by Crown. 354 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Centuries of June

Kirkus Reviews

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These narrators include Jane (aka Long John Long), who as a young woman disguised herself in male clothing and escaped from her home as a cabin boy.

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BC Books

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Centuries of June by Keith Donohue is a fictional book where a man meet his past consorts.

Jul 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Centuries of June: A Novel

Book Reporter

Jack's father points out that he noticed there were eight sets of feet in Jack's bed.

Jun 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Centuries of June: A Novel

Washington Independent Review of Books

With his head wound mysteriously healed, Jack explores the rest of his house, only to discover eight nude women in his bed, splayed in the erotic lassitude of Gustav Klimt’s “The Virgin.” As Jack struggles to tell the old man in the bathroom how the women got there, they enter, one after the othe...

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Blue swamp: Patients get stuck when health care networks feud Fighting words: Cooler heads must prevail in the Korean peninsula The right to self-defense is a natural right Sacrificing women for politics: These U.S. House members from Pa.

Jun 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Centuries of June: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Defeated, the woman begins telling the tale of her marriage to a bear in the cool, humid groves of Tlingit mythology while Jack, his head still ringing and bloodied, wonders at her tale.

Jun 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Centuries of June: A Novel


Keith Donohue’s last novel, “Angels of Destruction,” was about a mother haunted by the memory of her runaway daughter.

Jun 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Centuries of June: A Novel

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

The cycle of fables starts with a tale told by S’ee, a Tlingit (Northwest Coast Alaskan Indian) woman of 500 years ago who marries a grizzly bear and ends with a story told by Sita at our protagonist’s wake to his brother in the present time.

May 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Centuries of June: A Novel

The Roanoke Times

Here he seems to merge the Marx Brothers’ comedy of “A Night at the Opera” and the quest for meaning in Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” with the possibility for renewal depicted in Yeats’ short play “Purgatory.” The final story, told by Jack’s current girl friend about her unhappy relationships wi...

Jun 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Centuries of June: A Novel

First Things

Keith Donohue’s most recent novel is a chain of interlinking stories in the tradition of The Canterbury Tales, The Decameron, or, closer to our time, Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, with a dash of Flann O’Brien, Groucho Marx, and Tristram Shandy.

Oct 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Centuries of June: A Novel

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