The Emperor's Children

2.93 based on 15255 ratings & 2317 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 06.04.2007
ISBN: 9780330444484
Number of pages: 592

Synopsis

In Manhattan, just after the century’s turn, three thirty-year-old friends, Danielle, Marina and Julius, are seeking their fortunes. But the arrival of Marina’s young cousin Bootie – fresh from the provinces and keen, too, to make his mark – forces them to confront their own desires and expectations. The Emperor’s Children is a sweeping portrait of one of the most fascinating cities in the world, and a haunting illustration of how the events of a single day can change everything, for ever.

‘Brilliant . . . a masterpiece’

Independent on Sunday

‘Intelligent and unsparing . . . The Emperor’s Children is likely to be one of the most talked-about novels of the autumn . . . Buy two copies; give one to a friend’

The Economist

‘Messud’s prose is a timely and intensely pleasurable reminder of the possibilities of the English language. To use the word clarity about her style – dense, chaste, luminously intelligent – is to return the word to its origins; this is style as illumination, shining a searching yet sympathetic light on the minds and inner worlds of her characters, and as a radiant mode of moral inquiry’

The Times

‘As large-hearted as it is ambitious, this is a novel that combines the old-fashioned art of storytelling with a clear-eyed view of the modern world’

Sunday Times

In the media

From the moment the book opens, one senses a writer of confidence and maturity, expansive, sure of her ground and savouring her own sonorous prose . . . Messud has proved in her previous novels that she is an intelligent and ambitious writer whose fiction is concerned with matters well beyond the personal and domestic . . . There is much to enjoy here, not least Messud's delicate yet devastating use of irony, her nuanced portrayal of character and motive and her vivid descriptions.
Sunday Telegraph
A splendid American novel, contemporary yet historical, with an avalanche of characters flowing across the world from Australia to Manhattan to small-town America and to Florida . . . This is an ambitious, confident, most readable book by a first rate storyteller with the youth and vitality to spread a huge canvas and enjoy filling it.
Spectator
Claire Messud is a novelist of unnerving talent . . . The Emperor's Children is a masterly comedy of manners - an astute and poignant evocation of hobnobbing glitterati in the months before and immediately following September 11 . . . [It] is, on its surface, a stingingly observant novel about the facades of the chattering class - with its loves, ambitions and petty betrayals - but it is also, more profoundly, about a wholesale collision of values . . . The Emperor's Children is full of satirical chiding, but it's one of the most delightful - even delicious - forms of such chiding I've encountered . . . Among its many pleasures, this novel indisputably reminds us of one truth that cannot be declared fungible: the obdurate reality of the human imagination. The Emperor's Children is a penetrating testament to its power.
New York Times Book Review