I love New York, have lived in Manhattan and would happily live there again. I’m literate enough to stagger through paragraph-length sentences with multiple clauses set off by commas, needed or not. I should have liked The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud, but I didn’t.
Reading it was like being trapped at a cocktail party attended by intelligent but utterly self-absorbed people who are deluded enough to find themselves fascinating. In fairness, the author did a magnificent job of creating believable characters. A reader who is interested in the pretentious fringe of the New York City intelligentsia might enjoy reading The Emperor’s Children.
I finished the book only because it was recommended by someone whose reading taste I usually share, and I kept thinking it would get better. The second half was more somewhat interesting, but I resented the use of the 9/11 tragedy as a plot device. Perhaps that’s why I’m posting a negative review rather than just putting the book in the box for Good Will, but there’s another reason.
I think The Emperor’s Children is well-written and don’t doubt that Claire Messud is a talented writer, but I didn’t like the the book because I didn’t like the characters. That’s not always a kiss of death – consider Gone Girl, but these characters bored me. For a writer, boring the reader is a sin.