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The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud

The Emperor's Children (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Claire Messud

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3,095952,724 (3.17)116
Title:The Emperor's Children
Authors:Claire Messud
Info:Vintage (2007), Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:own, unread

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The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud (2006)


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English (88)  French (3)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (95)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Viewed from a distance The Emperor's Children could be mistaken for another hackneyed tale of self-absorbed twentysomethings coming of age in the big city. It is in fact a sharp, artful group portrait in which each protagonist, every action and motivation is convincing. Messud's drawing of character is vivid and utterly real; her shifting scenes and perspectives may be cinematic, but her sentences are Proustian and poetic. Subtle, clear-eyed and critical, The Emperor's Children is a brilliant snapshot of a society hovering on the brink of history. ( )
  Lirmac | Mar 28, 2019 |
This does not deserve four stars. I suspect some intrinsic fissure is to blame for a rasher of characters that I uniformly loathed. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
I use the term "read" very loosely! I read a few chapters and just had a horrible time getting into this story. Maybe I'll try it another time... ( )
  cubsfan3410 | Sep 1, 2018 |
After about 250 pages of slow, almost torpid, overtly careful build-up, this book managed to redeem itself in my mind, and the whole slew of its shortcomings retreated into the background.

Its one obvious merit is in its characters, whose indisputable realness makes you want to meet them downtown for coffee and catch-up after you've put down the book.

The book is self-referent in many ways, its style almost borrowed from the glamorous journalistic milieu it describes (which isn't gratifying whether it is an unintended contamination or a post-modern quirk alongside a not fully successful use of the golden-age-of-the-novel building blocks), but its honesty in facing the reader (so often a hot topic of the story) highly rewarding. It does not abuse 9/11 as may seem at first, but honestly encapsulates it in the narrative, does not appropriate its horrible power to drive the story, but makes it reflect the changes, impossible and inevitable, that the characters undergo. In short, it is not a book about 9/11 and its impact on NY glitterati and co., it's a book about people who had this event intrude upon their lives' flow at a significant moment.

And so there is nothing wrong in the way the novel wants to be read, and I shall refrain from recounting my woes in confronting what I had seen as its flaws until I stopped bothering about them.

Also, there is a wealth of quotes, literal or indirect, scattered around the text, obviously many more than I could recognize, which will tickle your literate fancy. Which it is also a feature and a part of the Name-a-city-Review-of-Books type of thing. ( )
  alik-fuchs | Apr 27, 2018 |
Beautifully written, good storytelling, but the main characters were so shallow and/or odious that it was really hard to care what happened to them. ( )
  sblock | Mar 12, 2018 |
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“Darlings! Welcome! And you must be Danielle?” Sleek and small, her wide eyes rendered enormous by kohl, Lucy Leverett, in spite of her resemblance to a baby seal, rasped impressively.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 030727666X, Paperback)

The Emperor’s Children is a richly drawn, brilliantly observed novel of fate and fortune—about the intersections in the lives of three friends, now on the cusp of their thirties, making their way--and not-- in New York City. In this tour de force, the celebrated author Claire Messud brings to life a city, a generation, and the way we live in this moment.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:05 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Friends at Brown University, Marina, Danielle, and Julius are still looking to make their marks as they approach their 30s. Marina lives with her celebrated parents on the Upper West Side while trying to complete her book. TV producer Danielle's success is due to the puff pieces she churns out. Freelance critic Julius can barely make ends meet. Into this mix comes Bootie, Marina's college droupout cousin, who is just the catalyst the three friends need to start making siginificant changes in their lives.… (more)

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