Laura's Reviews > The Emperor's Children

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
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's review
Nov 26, 2007

it was ok

A last minute, impulsive buy at the airport, en route to France, that I thought I remembered reading really good things about. I read it on the plane, I read it in hotels, I read it on the train. At first, I thought, "she writes well and this is good." I have children younger than those in the book, so was interested in the fates and trajectories of her characters, even though several of them were pretty unlikeable. The more I read, the more I kept waiting for the good parts. By the time it ended, I knew there were no good parts. Who the hell WERE these people and why was I spending time with them? Did the author know who they were? Dear reader, I think not. In spite of the fact that Messud can pen a wicked sentence or two, she apparently can't stick them together to make that complex thing called a book.
Still, reading The Emperor's Children occupied several hours that might have been spent worrying about late arrivals, train strikes, missed planes, key clothing items left at home. That's got to count for something.
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Arthur Goldgaber Laura, Hi! I had a similar experience though I found the book at a used book table at a flea market. I agree with you that the writing is very good, but the characters were unlikable. The author does a good job of creating a fictional world with great details, but I can't say I remember much of the plot!

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