Claire Messud’s new novel, her third, is, sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph, a singing, Jamesian beauty. She does it all and does it like a virtuoso: she conjures the heavy particularity of places (Manhattan, Miami, small-town upstate New York, expensive apartments, sleazy dives, gay bars, offices, stairwells, coffee shops, sweaty sheets, freshly ironed shirts) with their smells and sounds and tastes and textures; she...
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