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The Emperor's Children

by

The Emperor's Children Cover

 

Awards

The Rooster 2007 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Staff Pick

Absolutely brilliant. The best novel I've read in months, if not years, The Emperor's Children has left me powerfully moved; Claire Messud's knowledge of the human psyche is uncanny, and her characters became, in one afternoon, more important to me than the friend who I made wait on my couch while I finished the book. Gorgeously written, painfully honest, and, often enough, funny as hell, The Emperor's Children is a classical novel which perfectly depicts modern times, describing what humanity looks like up close with a brutal yet sympathetic clarity.
Recommended by Tessa, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"[A] riveting comedy of manners....Gradually, Messud...converts academic hairsplitting into a matter of larger consequence, extracting considerable suspense from the young cultural pretenders' attempts to topple the old guard and wrest an erotic prize." Elizabeth Judd, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Marina Thwaite, Danielle Minkoff and Julian Clarke were buddies at Brown, certain that they would soon do something important in the world. But as all near 30, Danielle is struggling as a TV documentary maker, and Julius is barely surviving financially as a freelance critic. Marina, the startlingly beautiful daughter of celebrated social activist, journalist and hob-nobber Murray Thwaite, is living with her parents on the Upper West Side, unable to finish her book — titled The Emperor's Children Have No Clothes (on how changing fashions in children's clothes mirror changes in society). Two arrivals upset the group stasis: Ludovic, a fiercely ambitious Aussie who woos Marina to gain entrée into society (meanwhile planning to destroy Murray's reputation), and Murray's nephew, Frederick 'Bootie' Tubb, an immature, idealistic college dropout and autodidact who is determined to live the life of a New York intellectual. The group orbits around the post-September 11 city with disconcerting entitlement — and around Murray, who is, in a sense, the emperor. Messud, in her fourth novel, remains wickedly observant of pretensions — intellectual, sexual, class and gender. Her writing is so fluid, and her plot so cleverly constructed, that events seem inevitable, yet the narrative is ultimately surprising and masterful as a contemporary comedy of manners." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Messud deftly paints the neurotic uncertainties of people who know they're privileged and feel sorry for themselves anyway; she makes her characters human....Intelligent, evocative and unsparing." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"Messud's comedy of manners is extremely well written and features characters that come alive....This wonderful read is an insightful look at our time and the decisions people make. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Messud's ambitious, glamorous, and gutsy new novel, The Emperor's Children, is a leap forward, a marvel of bold momentum and kinetic imagination." Elle

Review:

"Claire Messud is a novelist of unnerving talent....The Emperor's Children is a masterly comedy of manners — an astute and poignant evocation of hobnobbing glitterati in the months before and immediately following Sept. 11." Meghan O'Rourke, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Absorbingly intelligent....[Messud] writing is so sure-handed that she doesn't even stumble on the hurdle of the Sept. 11 attacks...and her exploration of entitlement is both witty and astute." Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"Ms. Messud has composed a comedy of manners, a satire on journalism and misplaced ambition, and a probing, sometimes poignant, drama about confused urban lives." Wall Street Journal

Review:

"The novel surprises in so many ways. Most notably is the way that the story gets more and more interesting as it progresses. By the final chapters it becomes a page-turner, something rarely found in novels without detectives or CIA agents lurking about." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Review:

"If occasionally the reader feels suffocated inside the Thwaites' privileged bubble, the pleasures of Messud's prose are enlivening....You will not learn how to live from reading The Emperor's Children, but you will recognize the pulse of real life on every page." Newsday

Review:

"[T]he novel, for all its evident flaws...demonstrates Ms. Messud's growing range as a writer, her ability to shift gears effortlessly between the comic and the tragic, the satiric and the humane." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Synopsis:

The Emperors 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.

Synopsis:

A magnificent novel of fate and fortune — of love and friendship, family and secrets, of striving and glamor, disaster and promise — this is a tour de force that brings to life a city, a generation, and living in the moment.

About the Author

Claire Messud's first novel, When the World Was Steady, and her book of novellas, The Hunters, were finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; her second novel, The Last Life, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and an Editor's Choice at The Village Voice. All three books were New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Radcliffe Fellowship, and is the current recipient of the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

6669 I dont know if you know, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by 6669 I dont know if you know)
Best book of the decade.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
rosalind, July 17, 2008 (view all comments by rosalind)
My bookgroup read this, 9 out of ten of us did not like the book, though acknowledging the literary skill of the author. None of the characters were likable, and were not well formulated. The one person who liked it said that it was "like pulp fiction (genre, not the movie)" and a fun read.
Compare it to Zaidy Smith's "On Beauty" ( well there isn't any positive comparison ) a book with well developed characters, plenty of literary illusions, a jab at the academic world,and set in the eastern seaboard.
Our group is 60+ in age. Are the positive comments coming from younger people?
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
Celia_Garner, February 14, 2008 (view all comments by Celia_Garner)
Incredible story of the changing nature of relationships under the stress of tragedy.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(12 of 24 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307276667
Author:
Messud, Claire
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
20070631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 1.1 in 0.8 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Miscellaneous Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

The Emperor's Children Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780307276667 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Absolutely brilliant. The best novel I've read in months, if not years, The Emperor's Children has left me powerfully moved; Claire Messud's knowledge of the human psyche is uncanny, and her characters became, in one afternoon, more important to me than the friend who I made wait on my couch while I finished the book. Gorgeously written, painfully honest, and, often enough, funny as hell, The Emperor's Children is a classical novel which perfectly depicts modern times, describing what humanity looks like up close with a brutal yet sympathetic clarity.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Marina Thwaite, Danielle Minkoff and Julian Clarke were buddies at Brown, certain that they would soon do something important in the world. But as all near 30, Danielle is struggling as a TV documentary maker, and Julius is barely surviving financially as a freelance critic. Marina, the startlingly beautiful daughter of celebrated social activist, journalist and hob-nobber Murray Thwaite, is living with her parents on the Upper West Side, unable to finish her book — titled The Emperor's Children Have No Clothes (on how changing fashions in children's clothes mirror changes in society). Two arrivals upset the group stasis: Ludovic, a fiercely ambitious Aussie who woos Marina to gain entrée into society (meanwhile planning to destroy Murray's reputation), and Murray's nephew, Frederick 'Bootie' Tubb, an immature, idealistic college dropout and autodidact who is determined to live the life of a New York intellectual. The group orbits around the post-September 11 city with disconcerting entitlement — and around Murray, who is, in a sense, the emperor. Messud, in her fourth novel, remains wickedly observant of pretensions — intellectual, sexual, class and gender. Her writing is so fluid, and her plot so cleverly constructed, that events seem inevitable, yet the narrative is ultimately surprising and masterful as a contemporary comedy of manners." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "[A] riveting comedy of manners....Gradually, Messud...converts academic hairsplitting into a matter of larger consequence, extracting considerable suspense from the young cultural pretenders' attempts to topple the old guard and wrest an erotic prize." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "Messud deftly paints the neurotic uncertainties of people who know they're privileged and feel sorry for themselves anyway; she makes her characters human....Intelligent, evocative and unsparing."
"Review" by , "Messud's comedy of manners is extremely well written and features characters that come alive....This wonderful read is an insightful look at our time and the decisions people make. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Messud's ambitious, glamorous, and gutsy new novel, The Emperor's Children, is a leap forward, a marvel of bold momentum and kinetic imagination."
"Review" by , "Claire Messud is a novelist of unnerving talent....The Emperor's Children is a masterly comedy of manners — an astute and poignant evocation of hobnobbing glitterati in the months before and immediately following Sept. 11."
"Review" by , "Absorbingly intelligent....[Messud] writing is so sure-handed that she doesn't even stumble on the hurdle of the Sept. 11 attacks...and her exploration of entitlement is both witty and astute."
"Review" by , "Ms. Messud has composed a comedy of manners, a satire on journalism and misplaced ambition, and a probing, sometimes poignant, drama about confused urban lives."
"Review" by , "The novel surprises in so many ways. Most notably is the way that the story gets more and more interesting as it progresses. By the final chapters it becomes a page-turner, something rarely found in novels without detectives or CIA agents lurking about."
"Review" by , "If occasionally the reader feels suffocated inside the Thwaites' privileged bubble, the pleasures of Messud's prose are enlivening....You will not learn how to live from reading The Emperor's Children, but you will recognize the pulse of real life on every page."
"Review" by , "[T]he novel, for all its evident flaws...demonstrates Ms. Messud's growing range as a writer, her ability to shift gears effortlessly between the comic and the tragic, the satiric and the humane."
"Synopsis" by , The Emperors 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.
"Synopsis" by , A magnificent novel of fate and fortune — of love and friendship, family and secrets, of striving and glamor, disaster and promise — this is a tour de force that brings to life a city, a generation, and living in the moment.
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