Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Centuries of June” as Want to Read:
Centuries of June
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Centuries of June

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  494 ratings  ·  120 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Centuries of June, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Centuries of June

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  494 ratings  ·  120 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Centuries of June
Jul 20, 2011 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 abide by the same rules. 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 i
Michelle H
Jul 11, 2013 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 30, 2014 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
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
Chris  - Quarter Press Editor
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
Oct 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the only Donohue’s book I’ve not read. The other four I enjoyed very much, so obviously I was very excited when our library finally acquired this one digitally and checked it out immediately. This one was…different. In fact, had I not known for a fact it was the same author, maybe I wouldn’t have even guessed it. Maybe because this is an earlier work and Donohue was still finding his way. Maybe it’s just one of those random dramatic departures form the norm. Not that there is such a thi ...more
Jul 19, 2011 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 23, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Matt Fitz
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A mixture of folklore, myth, surrealism, magical realism, and American history as a man wakes up laying on the floor with a hole in the back of his head with unknown origin. As he tries to assess both the cause of his pain and the mess he has to clean up he is confronted by a series of 8 women who may wish him harm and a man who looks like his dad or a famous writer. Not a good book for people who need literal fiction. If you'd like to "read" a Dali painting then this may be the book for you. Fa ...more
4.5 out of 5 stars

A magically strange story about love and dreaming and finding your way in life.
We travel through five centuries of US history (on a night in June just before dawn). This is done with a bunch of different voices and through the perspectives of nine characters.
The structure of the book creates a nice, dreamy, darkly comedic atmosphere with a mystery in it. It's haunting and hilarious. The atmosphere and storytelling create a bit of a ghost story feel, but not as much creepy as ju
May 18, 2014 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
Sep 16, 2011 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
Wendy Hines
Jun 29, 2013 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
Jun 01, 2011 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
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
Lee Razer
Jun 18, 2012 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
Kevin Farrell
Jul 03, 2011 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
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2011 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 =) ...more
Carol Ann
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow!!! I nearly put it down but persevered. Glad I did! It became very absorbing. A magical tale married with grief, regret, fantasy and humor. Loved it. Love Keith’s writings.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Keith Donohue is the absolute tops in writing this decade. Amazing characters and story lines.
Libbie Buchele
Not a madcap romp; not funny

Billed as a madcap romp. More like a strange collection of short stories. It is an odd book, and I was annoyed by the female characters. The author has them telling their own stories, but he doesn't know how to speak in a woman's voice. All the woman sounded like what a man thinks a women sounds like. The bear woman falls in love with a man who rapes her. Jane is offered up like a plaything and is fine with this. This was a fantasy written by a man disguised as a book
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
the stories themselves would have been better without the bizarre framework that was intended to hold them together
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Donohue's 1st effort at writing a novel was very weak. if I had read this initially, I would have missed his excellent 2nd and 3rd works ...more
Judy Wiebe
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting collection of stories from multiple centuries, all linked to one man. It took a while to get the drift, but eventually it all made sense.
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Centuries of June by Keith Donohue

It sorely grieved me to put this book down after turning the last page. It is as captivating and enthralling as Keith Donohue’s first book, The Stolen Child. Donohue is a master storyteller, and he proves it yet again in this latest book. His talent is evident through his use of language, weaving a tale that keeps the reader spellbound.
Centuries of June begins in the narrator’s bathroom, which is the main stage for the central plot and all the subplots. His us
Gladys McGuillicutty
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Crown Publishers to review Centuries of June by Keith Donohue. Although Mr. Donohue has published two other novels, The Stolen Child and Angels of Destruction, I was not familiar with him. I am always thrilled and excited to read new authors so I readily accepted.
It is difficult in this age of instant gratification and self publishing to find original and intriguing stories. You know how it is you pick up a book and start reading an instantly know you ha
J.M. Cornwell
Sep 03, 2011 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
Debra Martin
Jun 27, 2011 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
« previous 1 3 4 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sweetpea (Sweetpea, #1)
  • How to Disappear
  • What We Forgot to Bury
  • Platform Seven
  • Mexican Gothic
  • If You Must Know (Potomac Point, #1)
  • The Last Thing to Burn
  • The Woman in the White Kimono
  • The Housewarming
  • The Boatman's Daughter
  • The Offing
  • The First Mrs. Rothschild
  • Call Your Daughter Home
  • Hollow Kingdom
  • The Lantern Men (Ruth Galloway, #12)
  • Girl Gone Mad
  • The Twisted Ones
  • The Devil Crept In
See similar books…
Keith Donohue is an American novelist. 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 Director of Communications for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the U. S. National Archives in Washington, DC. Until 1998 he worke

News & Interviews

  Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people fall in love with books about falling in love. Every month our team...
15 likes · 1 comments
“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
“He put his life on hold as he waited for his life to begin.” 1 likes
More quotes…