Friday, November 1, 2013

The Emperor's Children you are waiting for The Woman Upstairs, pick up The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud. The story follows three friends in New York City, crowding 30 and living in a quiet uneasiness following the comfortable excesses of the late 20th century. Marina stays with her wealthy parents and works on a long-awaited book about children's clothes. Julius, a struggling magazine writer, is cheating on his new boyfriend and Danielle, a documentarian, begins an affair with Marina's father, Murray Thwaite. In the 1960s, Murray gained notoriety as a left-wing journalist supporting laborers and civil rights groups but has since grown fat and indolent. He secretively writes his tome How to Live but, rather than sharing his wisdom and experiences with a new generation of writers, he fills the pages with self-righteousness.

Immersed in the details of their lives, I was taken aback when the events of 9/11 exploded on to the page. All of the characters are put in their place as the towers fall, but none use the moment for introspection or self-analysis. Messud has a knack for conveying her characters' self-doubt and anguish, even as they fail to see themselves. The theme of facades is woven throughout the book.

"And Murray, whose greatness lay not in his works or his actions but simply in his capacity to convince others of his greatness...Murray who was emperor in his place of pretense - surely even Murray, above all Murray, would be toppled by this."

But he isn't.


No comments:

Post a Comment

What can I post on your wall?
Commenting & Posting Guidelines

Welcome to your library on social media!

Pima County Public Library (PCPL) offers blogs and other social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter for educational, cultural, civic, customer service, and recreational purposes. They provide a limited (or designated) public forum to facilitate the sharing of ideas, opinions, and information about library-related subjects and issues.

By choosing to comment or post on our social media accounts, you agree with the following:

Comments and posts are moderated by library staff, and the library reserves the right to remove any that are unlawful or off topic. Posts containing the following may be deleted:
Copyright violations
Off-topic comments
Commercial material/spam/solicitation
Sexual content, or links to sexual content
Threatening or harassing postings
Libelous or other kinds of personal attacks
Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity
Content that reveals private, personal information without permission
Vulgar language or content
Comments in support of or in opposition to political campaigns or ballot measures
Content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification

P.S. Protect your privacy. Don't post personally identifying information in these public spaces, including details like your library card number, phone number, or medical information, etc.

Young people under age 18, especially, should not post information such as your school, age, phone number, and address.