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The Emperor's Children Paperback – 6 Apr 2007
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'Henry James does 9/11...a richly enjoyable narrative.' -- Evening Standard
'Slick, smart and multilayered, this already widely acclaimed
American novel is a hugely satisfying read.' -- Irish Times
'Superbly written and observed and very witty.' -- 'Top Summer Reads', Woman and Home
'relentlessly readable, almost eerily well-oiled prose.' -- Word Magazine
'she has attempted nothing less than a state-of-the-nation novel
at a moment of historic crisis. Amazingly, she has succeeded.' -- Independent
'this beautifully structured novel skewers moral vacuity and
hypocrisy with a sureness of touch that is deeply satisfying.' -- Guardian
In the glittering tradition of Edith Wharton, The Emperor's Children examines life in upper-crust Manhattan, and tells a compelling story of ambition, vanity and tragedy.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This labrynthine yet curiously simple, almost mythical tale centres on a handful of intricately drawn New Yorkers in the weeks running into, and after, 9/11. These people are as alive as those in 'Anna Karenina', and we get the same sense of knowing, and revising, and knowing them again, this time even better. The very characterisation makes the book feel as exciting as a thriller.
At the same time, the emperor himself, a pompous, intelligent, morally complex figure called Murray Thwaite who tells New Yorkers what they should think about the morally complex world around them, is worthy of Philip Roth. But, unlike Roth, this isn't Messud's world, Messud's obsessive thundering vision; rather, it is a myriad of views from each character as they move discreetly around the low-light corridors of Thwaite's Manhattan home, and the gritty, perspiring and anxiety (and caffeine) fuelled streets of New York.
At first reading I thought the ending was slightly overworked, elegant but a little contrived, but on second reading the ending is perhaps the master stroke, distilling the very nature of the novel, an integrated moment of coincidence and self-absorbtion and imaginative energy.
This book is an extraordinarily delicate tapestry. One of the most comprehensively finished and polished novels of the past five years.
I turned with a sense of relief to 'Waxwings' by Jonathan Raban. Now that's what I call writing!
It evokes the lives of the privileged of NYC very well. And I enjoyed its critique of the neurotic and preening competitiveness of the glitterati. This is epitomised by Ludovic Seeley - the magazine editor from Australia who wants to take New York by storm and by Marina Thwaite, the spoiled and adored daughter of a Famous Journalist. The Famous Journalist claims to be a truth seeker but is shown to be a cheating husband and long on cant.
The reason I did not love this book is that I found most of the characters unsympathetic or deeply unsympathetic. As a result I did not care when Danielle Minkoff and Julius Clarke, who are two of the main characters, descend into misery caused by affairs going very wrong. The two characters I did find more sympathetic were Bootie Tubb and his sad mother Judy Tubb. They are flawed of course and are presented as outsiders and losers. Bootie does however manage to disrupt things.
Julius Clarke sums it up well when he says: "This is New York, guys. And people without money aren't noble, they're beggars."
Ultimately too cold-hearted and cynical for me but I would have liked to give it 3.5 stars..
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very dull book. My book club chose it and we are all struggling. I am 1/3rd of the way through. I dont like the characters and nothing has happened. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Elmes Family
Very dull , whispers interested in such self obsessed new yorkersPublished on 23 July 2014 by neighbour
One of those deeply intelligent books that continue to deliver from start to finish. Great believable characters and an interesting storyline. Read morePublished on 1 July 2013 by nickyb
I enjoyed this very much. It's a startling tale told in a very subtle and under-keyed way. The main characters of the story are not hugely attractive - however, the writer cleverly... Read morePublished on 21 Jun. 2013 by Jane Bushby
I can't believe it got so much praise. Kind of a mockery to those who were deeply affected by 9/11.Published on 14 Jun. 2013 by L
This has got to be one of the worst books I have ever read. The characters are weak, the writing style is appalling and I don't think that the author had ever had any English... Read morePublished on 17 Mar. 2011 by Barney
I remember hearing great things about this book when it came out about five years ago, but it was the kind of praise that didn't really resonate with me. Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2011 by A. Ross
I can only assume that the reviewers who wrote in prestigious publications the encomia reproduced on the cover were sent a different book under the same title. Read morePublished on 22 Sept. 2010 by Mr. Bernard A. O'sullivan