The Woman Upstairs

Front Cover
Knopf Canada, Apr 30, 2013 - Fiction - 288 pages
Nora Eldridge, a 37-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is on the verge of disappearing. Having abandoned her desire to be an artist, she has become the "woman upstairs," a reliable friend and tidy neighbour always on the fringe of others' achievements. Then into her classroom walks a new pupil, Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale. He and his parents--dashing Skandar, a half-Muslim Professor of Ethical History born in Beirut, and Sirena, an effortlessly glamorous Italian artist--have come to America for Skandar to teach at Harvard.

But one afternoon, Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies who punch, push and call him a "terrorist," and Nora is quickly drawn deep into the complex world of the Shahid family. Soon she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora's happiness explodes her boundaries--until Sirena's own ambition leads to a shattering betrayal.

Written with intimacy and piercing emotion, this urgently dispatched story of obsession and artistic fulfillment explores the thrill--and the devastating cost--of giving in to one's passions. The Woman Upstairs is a masterly story of America today, of being a woman and of the exhilarations of love.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stephanie_M - LibraryThing

As “the woman upstairs”—“the quiet woman at the end of the third-floor hallway, whose trash is always tidy, who smiles brightly in the stairwell with a cheerful greeting, and who, from behind closed ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mooingzelda - LibraryThing

I LOVED this book. The Woman Upstairs delves into the interior life of Nora, a teacher and artist in her late 30s who becomes obsessed with the Shahid family, particularly the mother, Sirena, but also ... Read full review

Contents

Chapter 4
Cover
Acknowledgments
Title Page Copyright
A Note About the Author
Readers Guide Other Books by This Author
Part One Chapter 1
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

CLAIRE MESSUD's last novel, The Emperor's Children, was a New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady, and her book of novellas, The Hunters, were finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Her second novel, The Last Life, won Britain's Encore Award. Her short fiction has been included in the Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories, edited by Jane Urquhart. Raised in Sydney, Australia and Toronto, where she attended the Toronto French School and UTS, Messud was a judge for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her family.
 

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