Hmmmmmm . . . . I am about halfway through The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud and what had been a dawning recognition is now glaring in my mind: This book is a re-written, Americanized version of Iris Murdoch's 1970-ish novel, A Fairly Honourable Defeat. At first, I noted that the pompous patriarch character was writing a major book on philosophy, just like the patriarch in AFHD. Then the the sinister, manipulative character struck me as being just like the Bad Guy in Murdoch's novel. After that, many other parallels fell into place: two gay couples struggling with an unequal relationship, two floundering college dropouts, two stalwart matrons, etc. This must be intentional. The parallels are too close. Messud even calls one of the characters Julius, like the evil manipulator in AFHD. I am going to have to Google this and try to learn the back story.