The Emperor's Children The Emperor's Children discussion


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Jennifer I am having a tough time getting through this book with sentences that are three lines long at minimum and interrupt themselves at least twice each!! The characters are also painfully self-absorbed and don't seem to do a whole lot outside of their seemingly endless internal monologues (interesting feat for a book written in the third person). I am about 1/4 of the way through - does it get better??


message 2: by Jen (last edited Mar 23, 2008 10:12AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jen C. I wanted to care about this book because it was on critics' lists... but I have to say that, for me at least, it did not get better.


message 3: by Tim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tim Lepczyk I found it hard to make it through. Every character is so ego-centric, it leaves little room for the reader to care.


Cece I am about 1/4 of the way as well, but will have to soldier through because it is a bookclub choice-I am finding it a very difficult slog-as bad as watching "Real Housewives of New York City" or something of that ilk. If I say I wish the taxes weren't done so I'd have an excuse not to read, does that adequately convey the awfulness?


Cece I stopped turning pages because I read the last one, but my opinion hasn't changed. I know that Messud wants us to think that all the characters are, in a way, the Emperor with no clothes-but this novel, masquerading as a good book, is completely naked.


Natalie Thanks for your comments. I'm only on p.37 and am wanting to stop with every word because it doesn't seem like it's getting better. I also wanted to like this book since it was a critic's pick, but oh well, I simply can't keep going... Thanks!


message 7: by Tricia (new) - added it

Tricia I'm glad I'm not the only one. I'm almost done, and it did pick up after the introduction of each character, but not much.

Those long sentences with the - and the () were tired. By the time I got through one sentence, I forgot what the main point was.


Meighan Oh, I'm SO glad that other people had a hard time getting through this book! I eventually just gave up, and wondered how in the world it ever won any sort of award.


message 9: by Martha (new)

Martha Jennifer, your comment is exactly how I felt when I started reading this book. It absolutely made me crazy! I finally said, "Forget it". It's like constantly being interrupted in the middle of a sentence. Thanks for your comment and go find something else to read---quick!


message 10: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Started this book sometime last year and I'm still going - on and off. Apparently, the emperor's children are very, very difficult to put up with and endure... but for some reason, i don't let myself give up. :)


message 11: by Laura (last edited Aug 21, 2008 04:25PM) (new)

Laura I couldn't do it. Tried, thought maybe it was because I was a crabby 40-some year old Manhattan-ite wannabe with a bad attitude that made me dislike every single character so intensely. Then I tried to read another book by her The Last Life and I hated them, too! And then I read Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee, whose narrator is also self-absorbed and pretty unappealing and I loved it!! It IS possible to make unappealing characters, well, appealing. But I'm not buyin' whatever Claire Messud is selling. (And Michiko Kakatani or whatever her name is LOVES her! Go figure.)


message 12: by Rathna (new)

Rathna it seems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


message 13: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen I didn't have trouble getting through -- maybe I was secretly eager to finish and be done! Actually, I liked this book but I can't figure out why. I'm confused! The characters were ridiculously self-centered and had the most smug superior attitudes. I don't think I liked any of the characters. The dysfunctional Booty was the most interesting of the bunch.


message 14: by LISA (new) - rated it 4 stars

LISA Reminds me of Tom Robbins' - Jitterbug Perfume, a thesis desperately trying to come out through the characters inner dialogues...but awkwardly plunked into the story...hence exhausting, interrupted sentences leaving reader to go back and reread paragraph to tie the loose ends of the - - s. Many opportunities to slow down and tell the story were missed. All that said, I did enjoy it.


Carrie Phew! I am not alone! I think I will just return this one to the library and forget about it, rather than keep slogging through, waiting for something interesting to happen (so far nothing has!).


Elyse Walters I still remember my experience with this book 'well'. I read it a long time ago -- (part of it I read while under a tree at a clothing optional resort) - I remember asking my VERY smart friend, Alexis, the meaning of vocabulary words about every 10 minutes....
UNTIL....I finally just went and got a Yellow High Lighter. I never high lighted a fiction book more than THIS ONE.
NOTE: I was still kinda a 'new' reader to boot... (I took the challenge) --
My over-all final impression was that the writing was much too impressive for the TYPE of story it was....
UNTIL....
I got closer to the end of the book --
The shallow- characters began to expose themselves in a deeper way. The book came together more at the end.

I kept that book (the paper back), for a couple of years after reading it --with the intention of looking up EVERY word I didn't fully understand. I never did look them 'all' up ---but I did many.

I think I gave the book a pretty high rating in the end --because I knew it would be a book I would remember --(I got 'vocabulary-writing-style-value).

I've wanted to read another book by this author, but still haven't.


Elyse Walters I also was happy to learn I was not the ONLY person who had trouble reading the book.
The other book which was a challenge was "Infinite Jest" --but it was FABULOUS...


message 18: by stig (new) - rated it 3 stars

stig I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I bought it used at a thrift shop, knowing nothing about it. It's a little heavy on a certain type of description for my taste, but overall a good book. And the characters are surely flawed—that's sort of the point. I see them as pretty clear, occasionally heavy-handed analogues for types of contemporary literature. The book is not just a story about family drama; it's also about the world of literature itself. If I hadn't seen the analogy aspects, if I'd only thought of it as a modern-day "novel of manners," I might not have been as interested in it.


Elyse Walters Like what you had to say *J*! (very clear)


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