Sunday 28 July 2013

The Woman Upstairs

Finished July 27
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

This novel gives us the voice of Nora Eldridge. Nora is nearing 40, teaches third grade at an elementary school in Cambridge, and a responsible and dutiful daughter.
When the Shahid family enters her life, her dreams awaken. Dreams of being an artist, of having a child, of being in a loving relationship. Reza is in her class and his exotic looks and shy attitude draw her in. His mother Sirena is an artist working on her next installation, and her friendship and involvement of Nora in her own art give Nora hope for her own artistic dreams. His father Skandar is an intellectual who, while walking her home, engages her in interesting discussions. As she becomes more and more involved with this family, interacting with each member on an individual basis, she begins to have hopes for those dreams of hers.
The woman upstairs, is the good girl in all of us. The woman who does what is expected of her. The daughter who looks after her parents, being there when they need her. The woman who doesn't make waves. This is the woman Nora has been most of her life.
It is not until the final pages that Nora finds there is something even the woman upstairs won't accept and forgive.
This novel is about the dreams, hopes and passions that can be awakened in us. The chances we take to reach out for these, and the possibility of betrayal.

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