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The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
The Emperor's Children finds three friends, Marina, Danielle and Julius, who met at Brown University but now live in Manhattan as their thirties beckon in the summer of 2001. None of their lives have worked out as planned. Marina is working on her first book, Danielle does research for television documentaries, and Julius is a freelance critic. Danielle meets Ludovic, an Aussie who is set to launch a satiric magazine about Americans. She loses him to Marina, although Ludovic may be more interested in Marina's father, a famous intellectual and journalist. Marina's cousin, Bootie, comes to New York to leave behind the artifice of college for the authenticity of New York. Bootie's actions may shock them all, while Ludovic's magazine is set to launch on 9/11, a day that could shatter all their lives. Claire Messud's novel has received positive reviews with the Village Voice saying, "Deftly switching between six points of view, Messud crafts a gripping story of clashing ambitions, compromised loyalties, and the love/hate relationship between the powerless and the powerful. As the characters hurl toward that terrible September day, the narrative goes beyond mere social satire, deepening into a hypnotic, moving read."