Eleventh Post: The Emporer’s Children

Just finished The Emporer’s Children by Claire Messud. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book with that many words that I did not know. Am I forgetting words? Or are they inventing more and not telling me?

I’m still thinking about this one. Dialogue in this book was interesting. A character could speak two sentences, and in between those two sentences Messud would insert a page of internal dialogue, yet it seemed entirely believable that the internal dialogue would have happened in a split-second, like it does in real life. The mind can work incredibly fast, and she was able to capture that in her writing.

The characters weren’t exactly likeable–to me–but they were sympathetic. I wanted to know what happened to them, even if I did not care about them.

The book really heated up about two-thirds of the way through, with “July.” That’s when things started happening to people. It took that long in the book to elucidate the complicated relationships between all the characters as well as establish New York as a strong setting.

Each mini chapter was from a different character’s point of view, and the book was written in third-person limited (I think that’s what it’s called). I’m sure this was incredibly hard to do, yet it seemed natural in reading, and in fact helped move the narrative along. I found myself, as a reader, wanting to start the next chapter to see what point of view it was from. It was often refreshing to hear from someone new.

Those are my thoughts for now. More later, after I ponder some more. But I liked this book very much; I was impressed and a bit daunted by it.


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