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The Emperor's Children

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The Emperor's Children Cover

ISBN13: 9780307264190
ISBN10: 030726419x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Awards

The Rooster 2007 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

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)

"We've all caught glimpses of them before, but Claire Messud has captured and pinned under glass members of a striking subspecies of the modern age: the smart, sophisticated, anxious young people who think of themselves as the cultural elite....If you're one of them or if you can't resist the delicious pleasure of pitying them, you'll relish every page of The Emperor's Children....The most remarkable quality of Messud's writing may be its uncanny blend of maturity and mirth. Somehow, she can stand in that chilly wind blowing on us all and laugh." Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World (read the entire Washington Post Book World 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

Review:

"A stinging portrait of life among Manhattan’s junior glitterati, [including] three best friends [who], a decade after they met at Brown, are finding it hard to be 30. . . . 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

Synopsis:

A magnificent novel of fate and fortune — of love and friendship, family and secrets, of striving and glamour, 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 4 comments:

Mary Moore, September 14, 2007 (view all comments by Mary Moore)
A fascinating, moving book with characters you're glad aren't your friends; but you can't help being fascinated by. Upper middle-class and bewildered by the world not being simply handed to them, they approach thirty almost desperate for some sign they're as important and gifted as they believe.

The first post 9/11 novel that has truly gripped me. Highly recommended.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(17 of 33 readers found this comment helpful)
Adam, July 13, 2007 (view all comments by Adam)
Fantastic. A little slow to start, but, as you get to know the characters intimately and the book picks up steam, it becomes impossible to put down. The plot is relatively simple, and, while it's easy to guess where many of the stories are headed (with exceptions), it's fascinating to watch the thoughts and actions of the characters react and change as the book rumbles toward its inevitable end.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(10 of 20 readers found this comment helpful)
Joan Bregger, May 31, 2007 (view all comments by Joan Bregger)
Dense, but clear, prose describes the angst of three thirtyish New Yorkers--Marina, the dilletante daughter of a pundit; Danielle, a documentary film producer; and Julius, a caustic film reviewer. All are casting about for more meaning--or better living conditions--and further complications appear by way of journalist Ludo, Marina's father Murray, and Marina's young, confused cousin, Frederick.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(16 of 25 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307264190
Author:
Messud, Claire
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
Love stories
Copyright:
Publication Date:
August 29, 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9.58x6.50x1.12 in. 1.75 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2007
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Emperor's Children Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780307264190 Reviews:
"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 A Day" by , "We've all caught glimpses of them before, but Claire Messud has captured and pinned under glass members of a striking subspecies of the modern age: the smart, sophisticated, anxious young people who think of themselves as the cultural elite....If you're one of them or if you can't resist the delicious pleasure of pitying them, you'll relish every page of The Emperor's Children....The most remarkable quality of Messud's writing may be its uncanny blend of maturity and mirth. Somehow, she can stand in that chilly wind blowing on us all and laugh." Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World (read the entire Washington Post Book World 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."
"Review" by , "A stinging portrait of life among Manhattan’s junior glitterati, [including] three best friends [who], a decade after they met at Brown, are finding it hard to be 30. . . . 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
"Synopsis" by , A magnificent novel of fate and fortune — of love and friendship, family and secrets, of striving and glamour, 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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