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The Hunters: Two Short Novels

The Hunters: Two Short Novels [Kindle Edition]

Claire Messud
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Roth Scurr, The Times, February 2002

A careful and very beautiful meditation... Exquisitely crafted in themselves, these two novellas also complement each other... the work of a serious artist.

Product Description

Claire Messud’s two exquisite short novels, acclaimed for their subtlety, their insight and their dazzling prose, are destined to become masterpieces of twenty-first-century literature. ‘Claire Messud’s two brilliant novellas are exquisitely positioned: poised, subtle and perfect, they communicate with each other across expanses of silence like works of art. It is almost startling to encounter writing of this quality . . . This is masterly prose – modest, authentic, compassionate, interested and majestically complete . . . These two small masterpieces reflect and complement one another so as to form something larger, a work of tremendous scope and significance. I can think of few writers capable of such thrilling seriousness expressed with so lavish a gift’ Evening Standard ‘Messud proves to be as much an accomplished storyteller as an immaculate stylist . . . She is a mistress of parenthesis, the telling aside, the unspoken . . . With the short novel, Claire Messud, like Alice Munro, has found her ideal form’ Daily Telegraph Two short novels of remarkable power and artistry that outweigh works twice or thrice their size . . . They achieve their aim quite beautifully’ Financial Times ‘Messud is an expert storyteller. Her style is precise and illuminating, transforming the mundane into the unusual . . . dazzling’ Observer

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 372 KB
  • Print Length: 210 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0156007312
  • Publisher: Picador; New Ed edition (25 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TSAQQ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #287,234 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding twin novellas - recommended 21 Mar 2002
Having approached this book by a well-known critic with deepest suspicion, I'm now a complete convert. Readers, she's the real thing - someone who can transport you into somebody else's life and keep you there.
A Simple Life is obviously modelled on Flaubert's Un Coeur Simple (if you're into Eng. Lit., otherwise it doesn't matter). It begins like a thriller with Maria, a maid, discovering a trail of blood. Her employer isn't murdered, but increasingly incapable of looking after herself, and the interdependency of the two women is what's explored, alongside Maria's past life as a peasant in the Ukriane, a forced labourer for the Nazis and a Canadian immigrant. Her labours, sorrows, joys are evoked in the most beautiful prose, in a way that enlarges the spirit.
The second novella is also about a lonely woman but has a more Jamesian twist. An academic (sex unspecified) rents a flat in Kilburn for the summer and becomes drawn into the life of a downstairs neighbour. His/her snobbishness, irritability and assumptions make for fine comedy, which once again becomes something deeper when we learn that it is the prelude to a change of heart. What I particularly enjoyed was the way Messud allowed her narrator to be so obviously unpleasant and difficult at times. Too few authors take this risk.
This is probably the best work of fiction I've read so far this year. It won't please you unless you're prepared to rise to Messud's level of seriousness and wit, but if you do you're in for an unexpected pleasure. I've now ordered her other novels too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treat! 19 Oct 2013
By Julia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Elegant writing - she is masterful with words and draws you into strikingly different worlds. She leaves a deep impression.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Novellas Are Hard 9 Sep 2001
By Gertrude Wellikoff - Published on
and especially so in Claire Messud's case when "The Last Life" was so deliciously rendered, so unforgettably film like and full of nostalgia without ever being sentimental. In contrast, I found these novellas too tight and with too little room for the reader to daydream on them. But this is highly subjective. I read one professional review that praised the first, damned the second work--there are 2 novellas here. Another reviewer, highly respected saw it just the other way around. But for myself, I missed the last novel and felt these experimental works may lead to a greater next novel, not another novella, which I do not believe is Ms. Messud's best genre.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fierce Young Voice 17 Aug 2001
By Marianna Vieira - Published on
Claire Messud's THE HUNTED is surprising work, and what most surprises is that this young writer has mastered a demanding literary form, the nouvella. In "A Simple Tale" she enters the mind of a World War II survivor of Hitler's labor camps and traces this woman's consciousness from youth to her older years as a Toronto cleaning woman. All of the characters in this nouvella are fully fleshed out and thoroughly interesting. "The Hunters" is set in contemporary London and deals with the psychology of fear and suggestibility. To say that it is a contemporary take on James'"The Turn of the Screw" is to suggest its creepiness and fascination. not to dismiss the nouvella as trite hommage. The book is a double dose of adventurous thinking and accomplished writing from a writer who has found her voice at a very young age. Highly recommended.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed reaction, 3.5 30 Oct 2006
By lisatheratgirl - Published on
Like some of the other reviewers, I read the The Last Life first and loved it. I also intend to read The Emporer's Children. These two novellas were well (meaning artistically) written. Bad writing was not the problem here at all. These stories are much more about character and mood than plot action, if someone is looking for a story that moves, they won't care for this book. However, in the first story, Messud really succeeds in making her main character, Maria, realistic. I found myself thinking that we as the readers are probably the only people who really know her. Much of the story is depressing, but ends on a hopeful note. The second story works the theme of the hunters and hunted well in many ways, but I found it just too weird. There are (maybe purposely) a lot of unanswered questions. I didn't care for it, although again this was not because of poor writing. One thing I did notice was that the narrator, as well as his friend Richard Copley, are supposed to be Americans, but don't talk like any Americans I have ever heard. I'd give this book a 50-50.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Preferred "The Hunters" over "A Simple Tale" 31 July 2013
By inpsyder - Published on
While a number of reviewers here prefer the first novella, "A Simple Tale," I cast my vote for the second, "The Hunters." It transported me into the narrator's insular world of suspicion and invented intrigue, centering around the narrator's frumpy downstairs neighbor and her shut-in mother.

Set in a section of London that exudes workaday weariness, the story unfolds through the eyes of a college humanities professor who is there undertaking a summer research project. This genderless academic is something of a shut-in as well, having just ended a long term relationship and needing a retreat from social life in order to complete the emotional transition back to single life. In the midst of processing the recent breakup, the narrator's hermit refuge is interrupted by an unappealing, overweening neighbor who tries to force a friendship between them. The more this neighbor (named Ridley Wandor) foists herself upon our forbearing professor-hermit, the more grotesque and repulsive Ridley becomes. How much of the storyline about Ridley is the projection of an emotionally drained and depressive narrator, and how much is uncanny premonition about future sinister events? Messud walks the line artfully, and led me excitedly through to the novella's end. Bravo!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artistry of Words 24 Jan 2003
By rizabiz - Published on
Wonderful introduction to an author who will surely make her mark in contemporary literature. Messud utilizes the pen to paper as would a painter use their brush to a canvas. In both short novels----or novellas, Messud engages the reader into the full depth of a story in the shortness of 100 pages each. Unlike other reviewers, I was not prejudiced by having read The Last Life first and so disappointed with these stories. (although it sits next to me as I write because I can't wait to see more of her work). In A Simple Plan, we learn the whole life of Maria to who and what she has become today from her plight as a child. The Hunters story immediately strikes the reader without ever revealing the gender of the first person narrative. The most engaging part of both of these stories is that the language makes them come alive, almost dance off the page. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more of her work.
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