Deleted Amazon Reviews of "Emperor's Children" Found - So Pallette-Cleansing!

Happy days. I know, I know, it seems obsessive to continue to rant about the horror of the Claire Messud novel, but I found the old customer reviews which had been flushed from Amazon, and I could not be more thrilled! It seems Messud was not able to purge the web altogether. Therefore, without further ado, I will share a representative sample. And btw, I want to reemphasize that this particular novel garnered overwhelmingly lavish praise from every source imaginable connected to the mainstream publishing industry. Despite this fact, it was not even nominated for a single important book award (Pulitzer, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, PEN/Faulkner). It is truly the poster child for all that now troubles American commercial fiction. Of the 154 reviews, the publisher's puppet-reviews read similar to this one by "Matt Spruce" ... i.e., rather like a blurb than an honest comment by a genuine human being:

As well as being decidedly-incisive, witty, and often deprecating, THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN is genuine, providing a glimpse (though it's sometimes quite tinted) into the lives of the New York Upper Crust. Amazingly, nothing in this book is superficial; somehow, miraculously, Messud connects the reader with the characters, taking them off their soapboxes and proving that they are, indeed, real people. Along the way, Messud provides rich language full of sensory details that only highten the pallette-cleansing quality of this novel. It's funny, insightful, powerful, has beautiful language, and is ultimately moving, when its characters are faced with tragedy. It's simply amazing.

Simply amazing and pallette-cleansing ... Honest evaluations--mostly focusing on the crappy prose, pathetic characters, and juvenile plot--read like this:
  • I actually found myself highlighting sentences in the book and reading them to my husband at night -- for a good laugh! I can't recall ever reading so many clunky, tortured, obtuse sentences in a published book ... Some of the sentences have comically misplaced modifiers, some of them have multiple clauses offset by semicolons within clauses offset by hyphens, some of them are just plain weird.

  • The characters are trite, their situations are pedestrian, and the story could have been set in any large American city (except, perhaps, LA), in spite of it being hailed as a great portrait of contemporary life (mostly at the top) in NYC ... I guess the only thing that can be said of the book is that none of the characters is all that likable or even sympathetic, which is about as close to "real life" as this book comes.

  • I don't mind reading about characters that are unsympathetic and dull -- if the story has a point. Unfortunately, this book has no story. The author adequately illustrates the nature of narcissism, vanity, and wanton conceit; but her theme runs around in circles (tediously!) and never goes anywhere. She dangles plot lines that never ripen, and allows all the characters to remain static, essentially unchanged by the events that unfold.

  • I agree with other reviewers [at Amazon]. It appears the author likes very long sentences; many paragraphs are absolutely incomprehensible. Are we to be impressed with the overuse of commas and dependent clauses so that it often takes two or three readings to render a sentence understandable? If this is the new era of grown-up writing, I'll stick to my mysteries and nonfiction.

  • If the characters were people in or around my real life, I'd find a way to move to another country and become some real "Emporer's Child." These self-indulgent, pseudo intellectuals make me talk back to the book with bile in my mouth. "Please! Grow up! Get a life," are just a few of the comments that ran through my mind as I read this book. I am disappointed that the book reviewer from NPR gave it rave reviews, leading me to buy it, and I am disappointed that Amazon keeps suggesting that I would like it.

  • Without a doubt, a favorite of the NY intellgentsia, as it reinforces their view of the importance of the pointlessness of their social structure. Named the NYT "Best Book of the Year", we can merely conclude that the editors of the NYT Book Review are young, shallow and poorly read.

  • It isn't often that I will not finish a book. I can probably count on one hand how many times its happened. I actually wanted to throw this book across the room because it was so bad. I cannot figure out why it was so hyped. If the author was trying to impress me with all the big words she could throw in, she failed.

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