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Centuries of June

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  391 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
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 l
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2011)
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Michelle H
Apr 24, 2014 Michelle H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

WEIRD. Centuries of June is just plain weird, but compellingly so. At times, it is laugh-out-loud funny and at others, it is simply surreal and hallucinatory. And I loved it.

The novel begins with our narrator landing on his bathroom floor bleeding profusely from a head wound which he acknowledges will make his floor “murder to clean.” Ha! As he attempts to recount how he ended up there, he is joined by a doppleganger of his father who sneezes feathers and subsists solely
Aug 31, 2014 El rated it liked it
Ever read a book that takes almost entirely inside a bathroom? I can't say I ever had. But now I have! Inside the bathroom is a young man who wakes up naked and bleeding on the bathroom tile, an old man in a bathrobe sitting on the tub, coughing feathers, and one by one a series of women come from the bedroom to tell their stories. If that's not bizarre enough, each of the women comes from a different century. There's a victim of the Salem witch trials, a slave in New Orleans, a woman who was pr ...more
Apr 10, 2016 Lauren rated it really liked it
Reading this book was like dissecting a Dali - surreal, fantastic, with small bits of recognizable traits from "real life" but otherwise, a dreamscape when time and space don't jive. The book is a dying man's look back on history - through the eyes of eight women and a male "guide" that morphs from his late father to Samuel Beckett, to his living brother...

The man falls on his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night... as he lays on the bathroom tile, people join him in the bathroom - si
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
This unique novel mixes surreal lit fic and dreamy historical fiction to make a (mostly) compelling story about love, loss, responsibility, and moving on. The reader and the unnamed narrator are plunged immediately -- from the first paragraph -- into the same confusing mystery: what happened to him and who are all these people in his bathroom?

Strangely I feel ambivalent toward this novel even though it hits so many elements I like in a book: fascinating heroines, literary references, story-withi
Tevya (Reading Lark)
Centuries of June is set in the bathroom of Jack's home. Jack finds himself dying on his bathroom floor and is visited by a trail of women who all have tales to weave for him. These tales take place over a course of time spanning from pre-Colombian times to present, including stories from the Salem witch trials, Southern Gothic, and Native American folklore and mythology. Jack begins inserting himself into the stories, and he finds that the women seem to be familiar to him. While the stories the ...more
Ryan G
Jul 19, 2011 Ryan G rated it it was amazing
When Jack falls, naked, in his bathroom, he cracks his head open and starts to bleed to death. When he comes to, he isn't quite sure what's going on, other than the fact there are eight naked women lying in his bed. Confused and disoriented he goes back to the bathroom and meets an old man, who he thinks is his deceased father. Over the course of an untold amount of time, though the clock never changes from 4:52 am, Jack is visited by seven of those women while he is still in the bathroom. All s ...more
Aug 08, 2011 Chris rated it it was ok
I was so sad as I read this. I LOVE Donohue's use of language and writing style in general. He makes me angry how talented he is; however, this book is nowhere near as good as THE STOLEN CHILD--it's not even as good as ANGEL OF DESTRUCTION. Much as I love his writing, his novels are on a downward slope. I really, REALLY hope his next one is on the incline, or I'm going to have to stop telling people he's one of my favorite authors.... Sad day.

This one might not have bothered me as much if it had
May 20, 2014 Sheri rated it really liked it
I picked this up because I liked the cover and really had no idea what I was going to find. Essentially it is a collection of short stories linked together by the main character Jack. In general I don’t like short stories, but something about this collection worked well for me. It has a bit of Dicken’s Christmas Carol in that the reader (or at least this reader) is unsure if Jack is dreaming or hallucinating and wondering what kind of lesson he will have learned when he wakes in the morning.

Of c
It's been a few weeks and I still cannot fully express how much I loved this book and why. It's like asking a 2 year old to explain dark matter...impossible. Irrespective of being a grown ass woman who knows how to use her words, I just can't put together a bunch in such a way that you want to buy this book. It could also be the lack of serotonin and an abundance of chocolate. Either way, do me a favor, just buy the damn book. And if my vulgar demand isn't enough, just read this small excerpt fr ...more
Wendy Hines
Jun 29, 2013 Wendy Hines rated it liked it
This has got to be one of the strangest books I have ever read. Nonetheless, it is very addictive. It opens with "Jack" watching his blood flow onto the bathroom tiles. He's hit his head with half of his naked body in the bathroom and half in the hallway. He momentarily thinks how regretful he would be if someone found him in his current situation. His pain ebbs and that is when his departed father appears sitting on the edge of the bathtub.

Jack immediately feels better and is able to stand. He
Lee Razer
Jun 24, 2012 Lee Razer rated it really liked it
Shelves: magical-realism
Having read all of two novels by Donohue now, with a third about to be teed up, I can say I really like this author. He's a smart cookie who has also got imagination and a sense of humor, and as a novelist at least he lives in a spirit filled world. He mixes absurdist whimsy with realist melancholy in a way that really appeals to me though I readily imagine not to everyone. Would it be absurd to compare his novels to the music of The Smiths here? Well, I won't yet, but an analogy is tickling the ...more
Sep 03, 2011 Bill rated it liked it
Really like this author, and this was a good book, but his debut novel, The Stolen Child, was so spectacular, and his second, Angels of Destruction, so close to that level, that this one pales just a bit by comparison. But just a bit! The great thing about this one, for me, was that there are so many stories included from so many different points in history. It's kind of like seven short historical novellas in one book. It begins with a man waking up on his bathroom floor, totally disoriented an ...more
Sep 16, 2011 drey rated it really liked it
Keith Donohue is a new-to-me author, though I have The Stolen Child sitting on my shelves (and it's been sitting there for a while now). But I couldn't turn down the opportunity to check out his latest, Centuries of June. I mean, the blurb had me at "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"... How do you turn down something like that?

I will admit to reading this slowly at first. Really slowly... In fact, it probably too
Kevin Farrell
Dec 21, 2011 Kevin Farrell rated it liked it
This booked is packed with stories, each told by a woman from a different era in history. The audience is a young man who has apparently just died a violent death. That is all I am going to tell you. None of it makes sense until the end. Was it worth the trip? Not to me.

I can recommend this book for wonderful writing, interesting characters and great stories. What it lacked for me was some understanding of how they were supposed to fit together. This is not a fault of how it is written. This is
I absolutely loved just about every second if this book. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the end. All good things in this interesting, historical tale.

The story is told from different POVs and each one is totally believable, as are the actual stories they tell. There is violence; there is sex, revenge, and sadness. This story/stories are just SO GOOD.

I read this book for my yearly challenge - this one was a book with the month you were born in the title. With this book, and f
Oct 19, 2015 Carmen rated it liked it
I don't like to give 1/2 looks, but this one demanded it. Falling past 3 looks, but just short of 4, this was a book that held my attention, but seemed to take a long time for me to read.

The book opens with Jack having a terrible blow to the head, and while he is lying on the bathroom floor feeling the blood seeping my his body, things being to get kind of weird. Visited by seven women, from different time periods and various backgrounds, each tells a story of their lives and lost loves.

Mar 11, 2014 Svenja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Die Uhr schlägt 4:52 als Jack in seinem Badezimmer fällt und sich den Kopf anschlägt.
Als er wieder zu sich kommt erblickt er einen älteren Mann den er als seinen verstorbenen Vater identifiziert.
Leicht verwirrt über diese Tatsache hält er sich in einem Traum gefangen, als er dann noch 8 Frauen in seinem Schlafzimmer wahrnimmt wird ihm klar, dass ihm eine turbulente Nacht bevorsteht.
Eine Frau nach der anderen gesellt sich zu den beiden Männern ins Badezimmer und jedes mal wird Jack mit einem ver
Cornelia Franke
Mar 26, 2014 Cornelia Franke rated it really liked it
Cover & Titel: Schlichter als im englischen Original, aber dennoch passend für den Inhalt, der sich ähnlich wie auf dem Bild in einer Blase, fernab von Realität und Gegenwart abspielt. Dafür finde ich den Titel einfach toll gewählt, jede der acht Frauen erzählt ihre Geschichte, beginnend oder enden im Sommermonat Juni.

Figuren: Jacks Figur beginnt nichtssagend und vielleicht habe ich mir deshalb so schwer getan, mich an ihn zu gewöhnen. Das Buch beginnt mit seinem Sturz im Badezimmer, der Les
Jul 10, 2011 Pam marked it as to-read
Shelves: taking-a-break
Won a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads!! Just started reading it, and not to get ahead of my self, but it's off to a pretty good start =)
Neil Szigethy
Oct 27, 2014 Neil Szigethy rated it liked it
This was a fun book, and worth the read, although it did get a bit over-drawn about 2/3 of the way through. Starting out with the protagonist hitting his head and bleeding on the bathroom floor certainly grabbed my interest. The whole thing is not a flashback, as you might expect, but more the 7 former lovers from past lives you might meet in heaven kind of thing. The ending was, regretfully, kind of expected, so a bit of a let-down, but the author's style and periodic insertion of popular cultu ...more
Aug 09, 2015 Nicole rated it really liked it

This book is very difficult to describe so I'm going to leave it to the professionals, and copy the book description "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 Amer
Sarah Booth
Sep 17, 2014 Sarah Booth rated it it was amazing
A surreal story comprised of many tales that begins a man named Jack who is knocked senseless on the back of his head to be sprawled out upon the bathroom floor. There he begins to question why he is there and who the people in his bedroom, and soon to be bathroom, are. Rising from the bathroom floor, he is joined there but a man he believes to be his dead father. The father figure acts as a guide throughout this surrealistic night helping him and introducing him to a bevy of women who try to ki ...more
Andrea Guy
Jul 25, 2011 Andrea Guy rated it really liked it
Keith Donohue's novel Centuries Of June is hard to classify. It is several stories within a story and they all come together at the end. When I first started reading Centuries of June I wasn't sure what to make of it. The lead character is on the floor in the basement with a hole in his head. Then the women start coming in. Most don't seem to like Jack very much either. But as they arrive they have stories to tell, and none of them are pretty.

Once I got over the initial confusion of how the stor
Zohar -
Jul 20, 2011 Zohar - rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
“Centuries of June” by Keith Donohue is a fictional book where a man meet his past consorts. The book’s timeline is irrelevant since it compromises of several unrelated tales which all have a common denominator.

A man wakes up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Somehow he finds himself lying on the floor with a gashing wound in his head. Another man appears which the man thinks might be his deceased father.

One by one several women appear trying to kill the narrator and then sit and t
Debra Martin
Jan 23, 2016 Debra Martin rated it really liked it
Copy provided by Goldberg McDuffie Communications, NYC.

CENTURIES OF JUNE is the story of one man’s journey when he’s confronted with haphazardness of life. The book opens with a man, we later learn his name is Jack, who somehow falls in the bathroom and hits his head. From an awkward position on the bathroom floor, he watches helplessly as “a scarlet river seeped into the grout.” It is a compelling opening and I was curious to see what the author would offer up next.

Mr. Donahue tells an intrigu
J.M. Cornwell
Sep 03, 2011 J.M. Cornwell rated it really liked it
Good clear writing, confusing plot.

It is the middle of the night and Harry finds himself on the bathroom floor with a hole in the back of his head. When he gets up off the floor, he faces an old man who seems very familiar and yet he cannot place how he knows the old man. One good thing about the old man is that he keeps a Tlingit woman from bashing in Harry's skull. In order to explain why, Yeikoo.shk tells a story about her husband, a man who could transform into a bear.

Although Harry cannot
I won this book from READ IT FORWARD. I was really looking forward to reading this book. I am a sucker for covers, and I think this one is excellent. The cover turns out to be perfect for the book. I liked the premise of a dead man trying to fiqure out who killed him.
I would put this book on the unique shelf. It is a dark comedy that is well written with strange stories.
The setting of the book takes place in Jack's bathroom. Jack had been hit over the head and is dead. The author had seven diff
Mar 07, 2012 Doug rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 17, 2011 Literary rated it it was ok
This was one of those books that makes you go, "hmm."

There's the main character, Jack, who finds himself the object of several murder attempts by women he swears he's never seen before. The attempts are thwarted by an old man who looks just like his dead father. Oh, and did I mention that this is all taking place inside the bathroom in Jack's house? Eventually there are seven women, plus Jack, plus the dead-daddy lookalike, plus a baby that grows way too quickly, all crowded in there. Each woman
Sep 14, 2013 Therese rated it really liked it
I approached this book preparing to be irritated and give up on it. The description of the book sounds absurdist and Absurdism has to be done jusssttt right to not be really irritating to me. I do not think Waiting for Godot is funny.In fact Samuel Beckett can just go pound salt in general. Bleah. (But, the author of THIS book liked him, and I can almost understand why).

This was done just right.

It was funny and ethereal, all characters except one are perfectly cozy, happy and friendly (after th
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Keith Donohue is an American novelist. His acclaimed 2006 novel The Stolen Child, about a changeling, was inspired by the Yeats poem of the same name. His second novel, Angels of Destruction, was published in March 2009.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he earned his B.A. and M.A. from Duquesne University and his Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America.

Currently he is D
More about Keith Donohue...

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“The bed in which we spend a third of our lives functions as a kind of protective haven for the true self, the subconscious refuge from the assault of the external world. The bed becomes the restorative womb, where the imagination is nurtured while our resting bodies are safe.” 4 likes
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