The Woman Upstairs

The Woman Upstairs

A Novel

Book - 2013 | 1st ed
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Relegated to the status of schoolteacher and friendly neighbor after abandoning her dreams of becoming an artist, Nora advocates on behalf of a charismatic Lebanese student and is drawn into the child's family until his artist mother's careless ambition leads to a shattering betrayal
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2013
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307596901
Branch Call Number: Fiction MESSUD,C
Characteristics: 253 p. ; 24 cm


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JCLLisaA Oct 25, 2019

Messud's writing is gorgeous; vivid and intense, gorgeous and smart (yes, I'm using that word again, because it's so very true). I found myself re-reading passages and pages not because they mattered to the plot so much as they were exquisite in the air, crafted so deftly I was left breathless and wondering how, exactly, she pulled it off. I'll read this book again, just for Messud's mastery of language and her pitch-perfect balance of tone.

Jan 13, 2018

Teen angst in middle age. Self indulgent and rather ho hum.

Feb 18, 2017

Boring and annoying. Why should any reader care about a bitter character whose is so unhappy with her life that she make diorama's of literary worlds just for fun? Then tries to steal someone else's life and complains when it does not work out? Oh and to top it all off, decides to give up in the end? What? This book made no sense. Pointless.

Cynthia_N Jan 22, 2017

A sad story about a woman who feels as if she is an invisible participant in life. She doesn't matter. I think most of us will have this feeling at least once in our lives. Worth the time.

Apr 22, 2016

This is a disturbingly close look at the walled life of a single woman who falls in love together and separately with a mysterious new family in her town. I couldn't put it down.

Dec 29, 2015

Wow. I found this very powerful. The main character is rather milquetoast, and very frustrating in her ineffectiveness and timidity. But she's always intelligent, a little cynical, and mostly self-aware. So the twist - for lack of a better word -made me gasp and cringe in sympathetic embarrassment - even though we all just KNOW something bad is going to happen - and then the ending gave me literal chills. What an excellent, visceral depiction of a person whose life didn't turn out the way they wanted it to; a bitter, lonely, almost desperate person without agency, who finally takes control of her life - but only after being utterly devastated. Just, wow.

Jun 05, 2015

This is an interesting, well-written and thought-provoking book. One theme is the price of conformity; another is the price of not knowing yourself. It says something about women in the modern world.

Mar 05, 2015

I found this to be a rather boring narration of a self-centered woman who allows herself to be manipulated by the parents of one of her students. The conclusion is predictable, in that she suffers thorough humiliation at their hands. Not worth the time spent reading it.

Jul 20, 2014

The woman upstairs can be seen as a metaphor for many periods of own own lives....

Feb 09, 2014

I waited anxiously for my turn to read this book. I suppose hearing a CBC book review caught my interest and my being a school teacher made Nora, the main character, from a world with which I am very familiar.

What I found was a novel that might have been better as a short story. The character seemed to travel in a spiral that went around and around the same self absorbed issues but it never made me really care if they got resolved or not.

I've heard some reviewers describe it as a good read because its central character is unlikeable. That doesn't make it a book I'm glad I spent my precious reading time with though.

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Jul 20, 2014

3rd grade teacher, single, and trying to be an artist, lives her life on the fringes of others' lives. When she befriends the family of a student and that family betrays her, she gets angry enough to live her life on her own terms.


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