Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Claire Messud and the Murdochs: A Novel That Saw What Was Coming

One of the few things I've been able to read lately--too much physical labour, it seems, makes you fall asleep at 9:30 p.m.--was Claire Messud's novel The Emperor's Children from 2006. I remember reading a review of it, and thinking it sounded interesting. But I had forgotten the context and I had trouble placing it in time. Thus the ending--which must have been apparent to anyone reading it when it came out--came almost as a surprise for me, and actually increased my pleasure greatly.

The strength of Messud's observations came home this week, when I remembered how she paints a picture of a young Australian media guy, who tries to take the US by storm with a new, bling-filled magazine where the credo is "to shock is to rock." It fails because his timing is terrible--try throwing a launch party on September 13, 2001--and he slopes off to the UK.

Messud has not written a sequel, but I'm sure the guy got a job at The News of the World, and has spent the last several years listening in on conversations there and making or breaking politicos. His name is Ludovic Seeley, but it could have been Tony Coulson or any of a number of others now in the news.

1 comment:

Martin Langeland said...

GBS must have used this to deflate a few fellow Fabians and other moral uplifters.