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Loathed Titles > The Emperor's Children

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message 1: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 58 comments I found "The Emperor's Children" incredibly disappointing. The reviews I had read just raved and raved, but I disliked it intensely. Shallow, solipsistic characters about whom I couldn't even bring myself to care - neither could the author apparently, as some were nothing more than lazy ciphers - the guy from Australia, Julius's boyfriend, the wife. Good Lord, if you are going to stoop to the jaded device of bringing in an alienated outsider to stir things up, please take the time at least to develop the character beyond the level of caricature. And allow him to wear shoes, damn it!


There are already plenty of books in existence in which pompous academic males seduce women half their age. Similarly, there is no shortage of books in which people in their twenties pass their time in self-absorbed navelgazing and low-level whining. Is this ground sufficiently fertile to warrant another visit? On the basis of this over-hyped mess of a book, I'd have to think not.


The most annoying aspect of this book is the lazy way in which Messaud invokes the September 11th attacks as the ultimate deus ex machina to resolve the meandering, not particularly interesting, plot. It's as if tragedy trumps everything, including the author's responsibility to write a story that's credible. Messaud's writing style is fluid and the book is very readable, but given the shallowness of the characters and the author's laziness about the plot, the return on investment of time is low.


message 2: by Ann M (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Ann M | 39 comments Holy crap, did this book suck. Even the sentence structure was horrible. I had to reread some of her sentences just to figure out what they meant.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics was awful, too. I will never fall for "bestsellers" again.


message 3: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 58 comments Annm and I will have to agree to disagree on "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" (to which I gave 5 stars). But I couldn't agree more about "The Emperor's Children". major suckitude.


message 4: by Galen (new)

Galen Johnson (galenj) Terrible! Somehow from the reviews I was expecting this to be something brilliant and subversive and wonderful to read, just like 'The Secret History' or, yes, 'Special Topics...'. And I graduated from Brown around when the characters did, so I thought maybe I would have a lot in common with the characters. Oh, God, I hope I don't. They were shallow, flat, they made the most juvenile decisions about their lives...and the writing was basic, there was no feeling of flow, the author seemed to think she was so brilliant in her use of 9/11 when really she used it as an excuse not to have the characters actually deal with their own issues. WHY WHY WHY was this so well-received??????


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