The Emperor’s Children – Claire Messud

The Emperor's Children - Claire Messud

The Emperor’s Children – Claire Messud

As I read The Women Upstairs and really enjoyed it, I was keen to get hold of anything else by Messud. I booked this one from my local library – I do like being able to book things online. It was a large print edition, which might have affected my opinion, the pages were thin and tended to stick together and it wasn’t a particularly enjoyable reading experience.

Here is the blurb …

From a writer “of near-miraculous perfection” (The New York Times Book Review) and “a literary intelligence far surpassing most other writers of her generation” (San Francisco Chronicle), The Emperor’s Children is a dazzling, masterful novel 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. There is beautiful, sophisticated Marina Thwaite—an “It” girl finishing her first book; the daughter of Murray Thwaite, celebrated intellectual and journalist—and her two closest friends from Brown, Danielle, a quietly appealing television producer, and Julius, a cash-strapped freelance critic. The delicious complications that arise among them become dangerous when Murray’s nephew, Frederick “Bootie” Tubb, an idealistic college dropout determined to make his mark, comes to town. As the skies darken, it is Bootie’s unexpected decisions—and their stunning, heartbreaking outcome—that will change each of their lives forever.  A richly drawn, brilliantly observed novel of fate and fortune—of innocence and experience, seduction and self-invention; of ambition, including literary ambition; of glamour, disaster, and promise—The Emperor’s Children is a tour de force that brings to life a city, a generation, and the way we live in this moment.

As you can tell from above, I wasn’t as taken with this novel as The Women Upstairs. This was much longer plus it wasn’t as universal – three sophisticated New Yorkers pre and post 9/11 who spent way too much time thinking about themselves. So I didn’t like the characters and the plot was slow moving, but the writing was fabulous. I never once felt like I was reading a novel – the characters, the action and the setting were all plausible. I did struggle to get to the end because, frankly, I didn’t really care what happened to anyone (except Danielle).

More reviews …

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