How is the reading coming?  I am about half-way through Snow Flower, and I hope to finish it this weekend.  It has been slow going this month, but when I do find the time to read, it is easy to pick up right where I left off.

I wanted to go ahead and introduce July’s book in case we have some speed readers, or if you skipped this month and want to pick back up for July, you have time to get your hands on the book.  Are you ready?  Is the anticipation kiling you?

July’s book will be The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud:

From Publishers Weekly
Marina Thwaite, Danielle Minkoff and Julian Clarke were buddies at Brown, certain that they would soon do something important in the world. But as all near 30, Danielle is struggling as a TV documentary maker, and Julius is barely surviving financially as a freelance critic. Marina, the startlingly beautiful daughter of celebrated social activist, journalist and hob-nobber Murray Thwaite, is living with her parents on the Upper West Side, unable to finish her book”titled The Emperor’s Children Have No Clothes (on how changing fashions in children’s clothes mirror changes in society). Two arrivals upset the group stasis: Ludovic, a fiercely ambitious Aussie who woos Marina to gain entrée into society (meanwhile planning to destroy Murray’s reputation), and Murray’s nephew, Frederick “Bootie” Tubb, an immature, idealistic college dropout and autodidact who is determined to live the life of a New York intellectual. The group orbits around the post”September 11 city with disconcerting entitlement”and around Murray, who is, in a sense, the emperor. Messud, in her fourth novel, remains wickedly observant of pretensions”intellectual, sexual, class and gender. Her writing is so fluid, and her plot so cleverly constructed, that events seem inevitable, yet the narrative is ultimately surprising and masterful as a contemporary comedy of manners.

The reviews on this book are mixed, and because I am not familiar with any of the author’s other work, I am intrigued.  Because the internet is the cornucopia of information, I was able to paste some background information from Wikipedia for you.  Also, if you go here, there is a short video of Messud talking about The Emperor’s Children, and NPR did an interview here.

Born in Toulon, France(like her sister), Messud grew up in the United States, Australia and Canada, returning to the US as a teenager. Messud’s mother is Canadian, her father of French origin (from formerly-French Algeria), and her sister is French. The writer was educated at Milton Academy, Yale University and then Cambridge, where she met her spouse, the British critic James Wood. Messud also briefly attended the MFA program at Syracuse University.

Her debut novel, When The World Was Steady (1995), was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award. In 1999, she published her second book, The Last Life, about three generations of a French-Algerian family. Her 2001 work, The Hunters, consists of two novellas. Her most recent novel, The Emperor’s Children, was longlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. She wrote the novel while a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2004-2005.

Messud is married to the New Yorker Magazine literary critic James Wood. They live in Washington, D.C., and Somerville, Massachusetts, with their two children

(information from

If things go according to plan, and I actually DO finish Snow Flower this weekend, I will post my reflections, and then post the discussion questions for July…even though it’s a little early.  But things rarely go according to plan, as you know.

If you haven’t posted your reflections on Snow Flower, please do!  I’m curious to know what you think (all one or two of you)!