The Emperor's Children
is an exceptionally well written comedy of manners
that successfully skewers a particular strata of New York literary life.
As Ron Charles (writing for The Washington Post) so eloquently puts it,
"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. Trained for greatness in the most prestigious universities,
these shiny liberal arts graduates emerge with expensive tastes, the presumption
of entitlement and no real economic prospects whatsoever. 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.
Set in 2001, ending shortly after 9/11, the...
Beyond the Book
When asked what The Emperor's Children is about
Claire Messud replies....
"That's a big question. I don't think I
have a simple answer. What's it about? I
hope it's about what it's like to be
alive in a certain place in a certain
time. It's about a group of people with
certain aspirations and expectations and
limitations, and the way they contend
with what is thrown at them. Probably in
my mind it's about ambition, and what it
means, or meant, and didn't, in that
particular historical moment. And about
confronting limitations. And about
making a self. All those things. As for
where the inspiration for the novel came...