Recent Reads: The Woman Upstairs (Book 27 of 2013)


I’ve mentioned many times before that a lot of my book recommendations come from my beloved subscription to Entertainment Weekly
Several weeks ago, they released a Summer Must issue, which covered every pop culture outlet and their recommendations of each.
Their Top Ten list was pretty much added to my Goodreads To-Read list.

I reserved this book from the library and was excited when I got the call that it was available…it wasn’t supposed to be returned for a few weeks. At just over 250 pages, I thought it would keep me on track. I was wrong.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud is the story of Nora Eldridge, a quiet schoolteacher who is coasting through life. Everything changes when she meets the Shahids, a family from Paris that is beautiful and educated and living life in a way Nora never could. Sirena and Skandar’s son, Reza, is in her class, and through an altercation after school, Nora is introduced to the family. She becomes friends with a Sirena, a working artist (Nora has always done art, but never as a job) and they rent out a studio space together. Over time, she gets closer to the family, falling in love with each member in a different way.
But we are hearing the story years after it’s happened…Nora is an angry woman, blazing with fury and forced to keep it inside as “the woman upstairs” always does. Quiet, unassuming, polite, barely visible…she won’t take that anymore, though.

The book was well-written, a slow burner. But because of it’s quiet and slow nature, it was hard for me to keep on reading. It was easy to put down and forget about. If I wasn’t distracted, I might have had an easier time reading it.

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