Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Emperor's Children

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The Emperor's Children

by Claire Messud

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2006, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2007, 496 pages

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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 from, it's lost in the mists of time. I began the novel (with the same characters but in a different form) in early 2001, a long time ago; and later that year...

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