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The Woman Upstairs (Vintage Contemporaries)…
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The Woman Upstairs (Vintage Contemporaries) (original 2013; edição 2014)

por Claire Messud (Autor)

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1,4681159,527 (3.36)102
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.
Membro:jdukuray
Título:The Woman Upstairs (Vintage Contemporaries)
Autores:Claire Messud (Autor)
Informação:Vintage (2014), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:****
Etiquetas:fiction

Pormenores da obra

The Woman Upstairs por Claire Messud (2013)

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    Carry the One por Carol Anshaw (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: Not many parallels between these two books plot-wise, but they had a strikingly similar tone and while reading one I was constantly reminded of the other.
  3. 01
    Open House por Elizabeth Berg (kiwiflowa)
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Inglês (113)  Francês (1)  Todas as línguas (114)
Mostrando 1-5 de 114 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This is the second novel I have read by Claire Messud. Unlike some contemporary authors I enjoy, I don't find her stories as immersing and heartfelt. She is cool rather than warm. But she writes wonderfully well and, in this novel, I was taken by the dark tale of Nora Eldridge. I would not want to think of myself as "The Woman Upstairs", nor can I quite imagine that Messud herself is/has been the woman upstairs. But if that is so, how does she know? She dissects and lays bare a kind of lonely, angry, self-doubting, longing, passionate, resentful interiority that I seem to know about. How did she know? Nuff said. ( )
  jdukuray | Jun 23, 2021 |
Well written, with some great descriptions, but the main character is annoying and the Shahids are selfish. I genuinely felt bad for Nora in the end, but overall I expected more from this book. ( )
  mbellucci | Apr 10, 2021 |
The writing was excellent but the story infuriated me most of the time. I liked the use of the first voice and thought maybe dear Norah deserved more of my time when that tactic was employed. But alas, my hopes were squandered. Even though she spoke to us and told us that her life would be surprise it just wasn't. I felt sorry for Norah and at the same time wanted to slap her. I'm also unclear as to why she fell head over heels for the Shahid's. At the time of their initial meetings she was impressed by their beauty, but was that it? I enjoyed listening to this book (another audio in the car) but it also irritated me. I'm making a pact, if the central female character infuriates me I'm dropping the book. ( )
  FurbyKirby | Jan 5, 2021 |
This is one I wish I had read, rather than listened to because I think I missed the opportunity for reflection this fiction encourages. It's a rather cerebral read and told in first person by Nora Eldridge, the main character who both experiences the events in the book and also reflects on them. She is a thinker and very self-aware and the title is not a physical state (like the Girl on the Train or the Woman in the Window) but a metaphorical one. The "woman upstairs" is the innocuous, socially respectable, upstanding female citizen with education and intelligence, but lacking passion. Nora chafes against this as much as she fulfills it. She is a 3rd grade teacher, still single in her late 30s (by choice) yet frustrated in her artistic ambitions and ultimately experiencing a mid-life crisis of interiority. She let responsibility and a traditional path take precedence over her art and is beginning to realize the cost to herself. This comes to light when a foreign family moves to Cambridge where she lives and teaches. Raza, the little boy ends up in her class and through him she meets and becomes embroiled in their family which includes mother, and working artist Sirena and father, Skandar who is a visiting prof. at Harvard. Nora's best friend perceives her entanglement with them as such: a little boy you want to steal, a woman you are in love with and a husband you want to sleep with. Complicated. Nora and Sirena share an art studio at Sirena's invitation and while this awaken's Nora's dormant talent, it also awakens all sorts of feelings and issues. Sirena, meanwhile takes off in her career. She was established in Europe, but has interest from NY galleries and creates a vast interactive artistic installment, Wonderland, in their studio space. Nora describes her encounter with the exhibit (and ultimately her time with the Shahid family): "I felt....as if in any given instant anything might happen, all wonder and possibility." The family stays only 1 school year, but the impact on Nora lasts much longer and the twist at the end is a great topic of debate for book clubs. What seems like an act of betrayal may ultimately be an act of emancipation. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
I registered this book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/14015563

Quite the curious little bit of fiction.

Nora has almost accepted that her life will be the one of "the woman upstairs" when she sees little Reza Shahid. Reza is a new student in her elementary school class and she is dazzled by him. When she finally meets his mother, Sirena, she is even more dazzled by her. And finally by Reza's father Skandar. The family is in Cambridge for Skandar's work as a professor, and will return to France ultimately. Sirena is an artist who awakens in Nora her own early leanings in that direction.

From sharing an artist's studio to stepping in when Reza is bullied, Nora becomes part of the Shahid family. Perhaps, after all, she will not be that sensible, well-behaved, intelligent woman upstairs. There is more to her than that, surely? Do I need to suggest that some things may change when the Shahids move back to France? ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 114 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
In this ingenious, disquieting novel, she has assembled an intricate puzzle of self-belief and self-doubt, showing the peril of seeking your own image in someone else’s distorted mirror — or even, sometimes, in your own.
adicionada por ozzer | editarNew York Times, Liesl Schillinger (May 5, 2013)
 
This imprecision is also true of the characterisation. Nora seems more a construct, a collection of female stereotypes, than a rounded character. She's a spinster schoolteacher, dutiful daughter and handmaiden to an artist. There's a nod to Ibsen's A Doll's House in both her name and the little confining rooms of her art, and references to tragic women from Virginia Woolf to Jean Rhys are scattered around. The problem and the promise of this novel lie with Nora, whose yearning for a heightened life could be pushed beyond her obsession with Sirena and her enchanting family. She needs to be less a composite of women and more herself.
 
The interplay between reality and imagination in this textual hall of mirrors makes for a deft study of character underpinned by a gripping narrative. Messud writes beautifully and wryly (a crowd of tourists visiting an art gallery with audio guides are described as "a mass that drifted slow and imperturbable as oxen") but the real achievement of this novel is to imbue every chapter with thought-provoking questions surrounding the place of women in literature, society and – most importantly – their own minds. Female anger has never been so readable.
 
There is no doubt Messud will garner accolades for her brutally honest portrayal of a kind of everywoman made deliberately vague in her physical description, and imbued with emotions and desires that will resonate powerfully with many readers ...Likewise, you cannot fault Messud’s prose. Nora’s strong voice carries the novel, and it is marked by a frankness of tone and realistic emotion. Indeed, Messud gives each character, even little Reza, such a distinct voice you can practically hear the accents, though they are written without affectation.

If only the book wasn’t such a slog. At 290 pages, it reads more like 400.
 
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Ognuno vede quello che tu pari, pochi sentono quello che tu se'.
- Machiavelli, The Prince
Very few people understand the purely subjective mature of the phenomenon that we call love, or how it creates, so to speak, a fresh, a third, a supplementary person, distinct from the person whom the world knows by the same name, a person most of whose constituent elements are derived from oneself, the lover.
- Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past
Fuck the laudable ideologies.
- Philip Roth, Sabbath's Theater
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For Georges and Anne Borchardt
and, as ever, for J.W.
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How angry am I? You don't want to know. Nobody wants to know about that.
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Life is about deciding what matters. It's about the fantasy that determines the reality.
I always thought I'd get farther. I'd like to blame the world for what I've failed to do, but the failure--the failure that sometimes washes over me as anger, makes me so angry I could spit--is all mine, in the end. What made my obstacles insurmountable, what consigned me to mediocrity, is me, just me.
No, obviously what strength was all along was the ability to say "Fuck off" to the lot of it, to turn your back on all the suffering and contemplate, unmolested, your own desires above all. men have generations of practice at this. Men have figured out how to spawn children and leave them to others to raise, how to placate their mothers with a mere phone call from afar, how to insist, as calmly as if insisting that the sun is in the sky, as if any other possibility were madness, that their work, of all things, is what must--and must first--be done.
But who I am in my head, very few people really get to see that. Almost none. It's the most precious gift I can give, to bring her out of hiding. Maybe I've learned it's a mistake to reveal her at all.
It doesn't even occur to you, as you fashion your mask so carefully, that it will grow into your skin and graft itself, come to seem irremovable.
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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.

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