Book Review of The Emperor's Children

The Emperor's Children
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In The Emperor's Children, a grand comedy of manners, He-With-No-Clothes is Murray Thwaite, a famous liberal journalist and pundit whose reputation is based on moral integrity. Although the blurb suggests it is about three friends on the cusp of their thirties, I found that this novel revolves around him. One of the friends is his beautiful daughter Marina; the other two are her college friends from Brown. Much like Ian McEwan's writing, it focuses on the flaws of well fleshed-out characters, but a rotating set consisting of perhaps too many, leading to some loose ends. I found myself admiring Claire Messud's craft, manipulating ideas and language, but found myself aware of it, and not caring too much about the characters as people. Nonetheless, it was a well-constructed novel set in New York which I read through rather quickly.