The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

The Woman Upstairs  (link goes to Amazon) by Claire Messud:

"In this ingenious, disquieting novel, [Messud] 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." -- NY Times 

"The Woman Upstairs opens with extraordinary heat and momentum. 'How angry am I? You don't want to know,' rages Nora Eldridge, a single third-grade teacher in Cambridge, Mass., whose mother gave her the nickname Mouse... What has led Nora to this state? Her life-changing moments begin at age 37, according to her slippery, bitter, often self-deprecating account. She sees her horizons narrow: 'It was supposed to say 'Great Artist' on my tombstone, but if I died right now it would say 'such a good teacher/daughter/friend' instead.'" -- NPR

Paperback will be available Feb 11, 2014. [BE CAREFUL TO GET THE BOOK BY MESSUD -- THERE'S ANOTHER NOVEL WITH THIS TITLE BY A DIFFERENT AUTHOR.)

Yes, we know that it's Easter Sunday. We're meeting anyway.


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  • Janet L.

    Great conversation!

    1 · April 20, 2014

  • Leslie M.

    Very enlightening! Learned a lot this time, too!
    Enjoyed this book!

    April 20, 2014

  • Joan P.

    Whether we loved the book or didn't, the discussion was smart, fast-moving, fascinating. Thank you, everyone.

    2 · April 20, 2014

  • Jeanne Deabenderfer G.

    I left with an entirely new perspective on this book -- but I still did not care for it. However, thanks to everyone's insights I have a better perspective on it.

    1 · April 20, 2014

  • Linda H.

    Sorry to miss the discussion but have an Easter dinner to attend. I was very impressed with this book and wanted to hear what others thought.

    April 20, 2014

  • sharon h.

    Darn, thoroughly enjoying the book but it looks as if I need to go to an Easter gathering so will have to miss again. Have fun everyone.

    April 19, 2014

  • Nancy s.

    I'm sorry to miss the meeting tomorrow, I didnt realize it fell on Easter. This is my first book with the group and I'm curious about what others thought. I'll start on the next book and hope to meet you all next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Christine O.

    To all those questioning whether to finish the book -- I recommend that you read it.

    After finishing it, I listened to an interview with Clair Messud -- here's the link. http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/7637/Literature/thalia-book-club-claire-messud-the-woman-upstairs-

    I think the book will engender another interesting discussion. See you next Sunday...thanks for hosting, Ellen!

    1 · April 13, 2014

    • Joan P.

      Christine, that link took me to a page to buy tickets for her event. Where can we hear the interview?

      April 18, 2014

  • Joan P.

    4/18, 10:30 am: I just sent out the address to those who RSVPed Yes. If you RSVP after this, email me for the address.

    April 18, 2014

  • Nancy R.

    I'm so sorry to miss this meeting, but I have a family commitment. I was intrigued, and annoyed, by the book, and would love to have discussed it with all of you. Enjoy Sunday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Patti C.

    Have a fine group!! See you next month. I wish we could "tape" our discussions for those months we miss the gathering. Be well - Patti

    April 15, 2014

  • Martha S.

    Sorry to miss you guys this month, but I'll be out of town. Looking forward to the next book.

    April 14, 2014

  • Janet L.

    Leslie, your comment inspired me to push past the 60% mark on my Kindle and finish it. I'm glad I did, because I thought after taking that break from it, the ending was really good, as was the beginning. It just dragged for me around the middle. Looking forward to the discussion!

    2 · April 14, 2014

  • Leslie M.

    I found this book a fast read and interesting! Cannot wait to discuss!

    1 · April 13, 2014

  • Diane

    Dale & Janet: Sorry to hear the book is disappointing so far. Your observations are similar to Amazon reviews of the book. I was gonna soldier through the book anyway, but then an annual absolutely obligatory garden party invite arrived for the meetup date. I await your final judgment whether that invite is unfortunate or a lucky break...

    April 8, 2014

  • Janet L.

    Yes. I'm looking forward to the meeting and hearing what others think, whether or not I can push through to finish it.

    April 8, 2014

  • Janet L.

    I agree, Dale. It's well written but what she conveys in 50 pages could be said in 5.

    April 8, 2014

    • Dale M.

      It will be interesting to see how the others think.

      April 8, 2014

  • Janet L.

    Hello Everyone! I'm half way into The Woman Upstairs and feeling very bogged down, waiting impatiently for something to happen. Does anyone else feel the same way?

    April 8, 2014

    • Dale M.

      Ditto, it's well done, but I am waiting for something to happen.

      April 8, 2014

    • Leslie M.

      Oh dear... Am just starting tonight!

      April 8, 2014

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