A brilliant novel by Canada's own award-winning Claire Messud, author of the New York Times bestselling The Emperor's Children. The Woman Upstairs is the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed and betrayed by passion and the desire for a world beyond her own.
Nora Eldridge, a 37-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was on the verge of disappearing into the background until Reza Shahid walked into her classroom. Nora is quickly drawn into the complex world of the Shahid family. Soon she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together, and happiness shatters her boundaries--until ambition leads to 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.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2013: If this ferocious novel were to have a subtitle, it would be: No More Ms. Nice Guy. "How angry am I? You don’t want to know. Nobody wants to know about that," barks Nora Eldridge, our 42-year-old protagonist, an aesthete-wannabe who has slid into the bourgeois suburban life of a schoolteacher. Solipsistically lonely, Nora befriends--a polite term here for what is more like "stalks"--the artist-mother of one of her students; she also insinuates herself into the life of the woman's husband. That trouble will ensue is obvious to everyone but Nora, who for all her paranoia, is stunningly blind about using and being used. But in the end, maybe Nora doesn’t even care what she has suffered; at least, for once, she has lived, as she will continue to do in the minds of all of us who've read about her. --Sara Nelson