How some people always manage to get it right is beyond me, but when I tell you this gal does, it’s true.
Our book of choice this time is The Woman Upstairs in which the main character is an artist whose creations are miniature roomscapes. Do you believe our hostess just happens to have pieces that capture the essence?
With so much energy emanating from the table, you can bet a lively discussion of Claire Messud’s novel ensued. This selection particularly lent itself to a variety of comments, some of which opened my eyes to a different way of looking at the book.
In a nutshell, The Woman Upstairs is a riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed, and betrayed by passion and desire for a world beyond her own. Nora Eldridge, a thirty-seven-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who long ago abandoned her ambition to be a successful artist, has become the “woman upstairs,” a reliable friend and tidy neighbor always on the fringe of others’ achievements. Then into her classroom walks Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale. He and his parents—dashing Skandar, a Lebanese scholar and professor at the École Normale Supérleure; and Sirena, an effortlessly glamorous Italian artist—have come to Boston for Skandar to take up a fellowship at Harvard. When Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies who call him a “terrorist,” Nora is drawn into the complex world of the Shahid family: she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora’s happiness explodes her boundaries, until Sirena’s careless ambition leads to a shattering betrayal which is the source of many an interesting opinion.
The book haunted me for several days as I pondered who did what to whom. Each character was so needy, and that in itself can often lead to unhealthy relationships. All in all, The Woman Upstairs is a good selection for a book group as it allows a multitude of opinions as well as provides insight to the differences in perception. If your book club takes it on, I’d love to hear about your discussion.
i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind