The End of Irony

From The New York Times:Messud_1

Claire Messud is a novelist of unnerving talent. Her first three books — two novels and a pair of novellas — deftly evoke the lives and mores of radically different characters and locales, from an aging Holocaust survivor in Canada to a young woman coming of age on the southern coast of France. Until recently, though, she may have seemed something of a writer’s writer — a crafter of artful books praised more for their “literary intelligence” and “near-miraculous perfection” than for their sweeping social relevance. Now, in “The Emperor’s Children,” her splendid new novel, she has produced a formally nimble novel of formidable scale. Set mostly in New York City at the turn of the 21st century, “The Emperor’s Children” is a masterly comedy of manners — an astute and poignant evocation of hobnobbing glitterati in the months before and immediately following Sept. 11.

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