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 abandoned it, because it
seemed impossible to continue. It took
me a year or more to come back to it,
after failing with a couple of other
things; and by then it seemed to have an
organic necessity, an urgency in my
mind, that has kept me from worrying,
ever since, about where the idea for it
came from. More.
About the Author: 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 Editors 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.
When the World Was Steady (1994)
Last Life (1999)
The Hunters (collection, 2001)
The Emperor's Children (2006)
The Professor's History (2006) - 2 short stories published in the UK under the Picador Shots label (a paperback book series sold for £1/book).
This article was originally published in September 2006, and has been updated for the
June 2007 paperback release.
Click here to go to this issue.
This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.
Discover your next great read here
A library is thought in cold storage
Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.