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What better way to spend a Friday?
Today’s feature is a book that has been in my pile for a while: The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud.
Beginning: How angry am I? You don’t want to know. Nobody wants to know about that.
56: It was the fortune cookie that felled my mother. Mine said simply “Hallelujah!,” and Matt’s promised, “A short vacation is in order for you.”
Blurb: Nora Eldridge, an elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, long ago compromised her dream to be a successful artist, mother and lover. She has instead become the “woman upstairs,” a reliable friend and neighbor always on the fringe of others’ achievements. Then into her life arrives the glamorous and cosmopolitan Shahids—her new student Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale, and his parents: Skandar, a dashing Lebanese professor who has come to Boston for a fellowship at Harvard, and Sirena, an effortlessly alluring Italian artist.
When Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies, Nora is drawn deep into the complex world of the Shahid family; she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora’s happiness explodes her boundaries, and she discovers in herself an unprecedented ferocity—one that puts her beliefs and her sense of self at stake.
Told with urgency, intimacy and piercing emotion, this brilliant novel of passion and artistic fulfillment explores the intensity, thrill—and the devastating cost—of embracing an authentic life.
What do you think? Do the excerpts capture your interest? Would you keep reading?