The Emperor's Children
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.
BONUS: This edition
The insouciance, of course, masked endless and wearisome neuroses, to which Marina and Danielle were privy.
"Of course" -- what kind of sadistic w ...more
1.) There's the grand old man of letters, Murray Thwaite, and the erotic charge in his relationship with his beautiful, adoring daughter Marina, who begins a relationship with and eventually marries Ludovic, an editor and a rising young Turk among the 'chattering classes,' a man Murray despises and who despises Murray in turn. Messud begins to weave a Jamesian tale in which Murray and Ludovic, monsters of egotism, vie for control of the affections of the passive, childlike Marina...but then she ...more
This is a question I have been sleeping fitfully on. I finished The Emperor's Children last night and I really wanted to be able to post a wholly enthusiastic assessment of it here, but I can't. First, let's get rid of business. This is a book that has to appear in the epilogue of my dissertation, which discusses literary reactions to the Sept. 11 attacks. My primary focus here is going to be on how in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Jonathan Safran Foer ...more
I hated this book. Hated. I must not be smart enough to "get it", since I didn't go to Brown and all. But really, (can you not put entire sentences in parenthesis) within your other run-on, (never ending sentences?? Please??). I mean seriously, get an editor...save us 300 pages. I felt the need to consult a dictionary every other page, but really just didn't care that much to understand what EXACTLY, SPECI ...more
Pretty much sums up the book.
Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children is a very familiar story. As soon as you start reading it, you get the sense that you’ve been here before. The setting (New York City, where roughly 64% of all novels take place*) and the characters (over-educated and entitled young people) have been done before. What sets The Emperor’s Children apart is a bit subtle. For one, the young people aren’t that young, ...more
I did find myself drawn in, though, around page 200 as I said, and there were many instances at which I did really admire the author’s writing—whether for a particular turn of phrase or a keenly drawn insight. ...more
Read most of it outside under a tree each day.
I love this author .."The Woman Upstairs" is my favorite.
I liked this book.. however - my one problem with it .., was I felt the writing was MUCH more sophisticated than the story itself.
I must have looked up more vocabulary words in this book - than 10 other fiction books combined.
The characters in this novel are all superbly drawn and voiced, each seems like a separate, distinct being with individual loves, fears, insecurities, desires and ab ...more
As I plodded through this I kept wondering what the book was trying to say. It is about growing up, standing on your own two feet and making your own way. We look at three kids who have graduated from Brown University, two girls and a gay guy. They are all approaching thirty and the year is 2001. All are floundering in every way imaginable, both on a personal level and in getting themselves established in a career. All are extremely naive and terribl ...more
Not being either a writer or a Brown graduate, and being in the later half of my 30's, nothing in this book grabbed or amused me, save, perhaps, the character of Julius. This is due in part to the forced use of "10 cent words" when o ...more
At over 400 pages, The Emperor's Children is long, but I raced through it, inhaling sections like I've been known to do with big bowls of salty, buttery popcorn. This may have something to do with where I'm at, right now -- craving the kind of escape that narrative provides -- but it's also a testam ...more
I didn't like this book from the beginning and it killed me ...more
EDIT: January, 2021
Changed stars rating.... ...more
Claire Messud's novel, "The Emperor's Children" (2006) is a challenging, if only partially successful, satire of modern urban secularism set in New York City in 2001. In part a comedy of manners and in part a novel of ideas, the book deals diffusely with the pretensions and difficulties of intellectual life.
I think there are two interrelated groups of central characters in the novel. The first group consists of two people: Murray Thwaite, an aging liberal ...more
Also, this is an actual sentence:
"But for right now, on the Sunday evening the week after the wedding, it just felt as though she were married not to a man but to The Monitor; or rather, that she was not married at all, because it was after nine p.m. and she had packed in hours ago - the issue in all its glory wouldn't be sent to the printer until Tuesday night and her part was done, for this first time at least, and the pieces for her section in the ...more
Why did I stop reading, you ask? The purple prose. The god damn fucking purple prose. Two chapters in, and ultimately I decided that life was too short to slog through overly verbose descriptions about shallow people and their actions/decisions. There were so many paragraphs here that could have been easily condensed into two sentences and stil ...more
Ugh! This book was picked for my ladies book club and I really wanted to like it but ended up not caring for it at all.
The story about 3 to 4 thirty something people who had no idea what they wanted in life. They had the opportunity to do something in life but seemed to be in angst as to what to do to fulfill this endeavor.
The author wrote with such high brow words and way too many adjectives to describe the characters and their situations. Didn't care fo ...more
The Independent on Sunday calls Messud's ...more
Born in Greenwich, Connecticut, Messud grew up in the United States, Australia, and Canada, returning to the United States as a teenager. Messud's mother is Canadian, and her ...more
She had, in addition to her books, a modest shelf of tapes and CDs that served a similar, though narrower, function…she was aware that her collection was comprised largely of mainstream choices that reflected—whether popular or classical—not so much an individual spirit as the generic tastes of her times: Madonna, the Eurythmics, Tracy Chapman from her adolescence; Cecilia Bartoli, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Mitsuko Uchida; more recently Moby and the posthumously celebrated folk-singing woman from Washington, DC, who had died of a melanoma in her early thirties, and whose tragic tale attracted Danielle more than her familiar songs.
Her self, then, was represented in her books; her times in her records; and the rest of the room she thought of as a pure, blank slate.”