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Read & Download ´ The Woman Upstairs ☆ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ´ [EPUB] ✵ The Woman Upstairs By Claire Messud – Dcmdirect.co.uk A New York Times  Book Review Notable Book • A Washington Post Top Ten Book of the Year • A Chicago Tribune Noteworthy Book • A Huffington Post Best BookIs a reliable but unremarkable friend and neighbor always on the fringe of other people’s achievements But the arrival of the Shahid family dashing Skandar a Lebanese scholar glamorous Sirena an Italian artist and their son Reza draws her into a complex and exciting new world Nora’s happines. Did I find this book or did this book find meEither way this novel was so powerful and jarring that it jumbled my thoughts and disrupted my sleep The story is focused on the anger and anxiety — hell let's just call it a mid life crisis blended with some good ol' feminist rage — of Nora Eldridge a single woman who teaches elementary school in Cambridge Massachusetts and who wishes she had time to be an artist One day she meets a boy named Reza and she becomes so attached to him and his parents that she feels like she's falling in love with the family Sirena the boy's mother is also an artist and the two women share an art studio for the year Skandar the boy's father is a visiting scholar at Harvard and Nora enjoys long discussions with him Reza is a charming little boy and Nora enjoys babysitting him when his parents are busyWhen we meet Nora she admits she is very angry but it's not clear what caused it At first I thought it was being single and childless being undervalued as a woman in a patriarchal society being forced to be a school teacher when she really wanted to create art etc It is all of those things but there is We don't fully understand the reasons for her anger until the end of the book which brought a surprising conclusion to the storyI could relate to Nora's dreams and fears and anxieties and anger and I saw shades of women I know in her She was very real very well drawn Nora calls herself the Woman Upstairs because she feels invisible she feels like a good girl who is overlooked and taken for granted Nora felt connected to the world when she was sharing part of her life with Sirena and Reza and Skandar Early on we sense the relationship was temporary because she called it the year with Sirena so at some point she is abandoned and alone againMy only criticisms of the book were the references to real world events Most of the story takes place in 2004 and I found those newsy intrusions annoying Also Reza was described as so cherubic and sweet that it was unbelievable In the book the women were realized characters than the men and boys and I never really understood Skandar But overall this book is well written and a compelling story and I would highly recommend itUpdate After Book ClubWe had a great discussion about this novel during Book Club and I was relieved that I wasn't the only one who reacted so strongly and personally to Nora's story Several women said reading this book was like holding up a mirror I am adding this caveat that Nora's attitude and writing were intense and one of my friends was so disturbed by the book that she couldn't finish it So this is my warning that this novel is not a carefree readAmazing Opening PassageHow angry am I You don't want to know Nobody wants to know about that I'm a good girl I'm a nice girl I'm a straight A strait laced good daughter good career girl and I never stole anybody's boyfriend and I never ran out on a girlfriend and I put up with my parents' shit and my brother's shit and I'm not a girl anyhow I'm over forty fucking years old and I'm good at my job and I'm great with kids and I held my mother's hand when she died after four years of holding her hand while she was dying and I speak to my father every day on the telephone every day mind you and what kind of weather do you have on your side of the river because here it's pretty gray and a bit muggy too It was supposed to stay Great Artist on my tombstone but if I died right now it would say such a good teacherdaughterfriend instead and what I really want to shout and want in big letters on that grave too is FUCK YOU ALL Don't all women feel the same The only difference is how much we know we feel it how in touch we are with our fury We're all furies except the ones who are too damned foolish and my worry now is that we're brainwashing them from the cradle and in the end even the ones who are smart will be too damned foolish What do I mean I mean the second graders at Appleton Elementary sometimes the first graders even and by the time they get to my classroom to the third grade they're well and truly gone they're full of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and French manicures and cute outfits and they care how their hair looks In the third grade They care about their hair or their shoes than about galaxies or caterpillars or hieroglyphics How did all that revolutionary talk of the seventies land us in a place where being female means playing dumb and looking good Even worse on your tombstone than dutiful daughter is looked good; everyone used to know that But we're lost in a world of appearances now Favorite uotesI always understood that the great dilemma of my mother's life had been to glimpse freedom too late at too high a price She was of the generation for which the rules changed halfway born into a world of pressed linens and three course dinners and hairsprayed updos in which women were educated and then deployed for domestic purposes — rather like using an elaborately embroidered tablecloth on which to serve messy children their breakfastI 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 I thought for so long forever that I was strong enough — or I misunderstood what strength was I thought I could get to greatness to my greatness by plugging on cleaning u

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A New York Times  Book Review Notable Book • A Washington Post Top Ten Book of the Year • A Chicago Tribune Noteworthy Book • A Huffington Post Best Book • A Boston Globe Best Book of The Woman MOBI #181 the Year • A Kirkus Best Fiction Book • A Goodreads Best BookNora Eldridge. Hmmm Lots of thoughts There is brilliance here in how Messud takes up anger hunger and loneliness There are many problems here like THERE IS NO PLOT This is the kind of book that makes people hate literary fiction My biggest issue though is that so much of the prose is aimless and not in a compelling way Also 37 in Cambridge is NOT THE END OF THE LINE That is not middle aged In a city like Cambridge 37 is when many women might think Maybe I'll settle down and have some kids This is not universally true but still Come on And maybe I'm just being oversensitive but I don't feel middle aged at all I don't feel young I'm not delusional But I still feel like there's a lot of life yet to live so I'm probably personalizing this a bit I just feel like framing Nora as a spinster misses the mark And also the very end is so sharp and so breathtaking and I wish the rest of the book was as good Middle aged my ass Also it's weird how anger is articulated but rarely shown here Anger seems like an idea than an actual emotion

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The Woman UpstairsS pushes her beyond her boundaries until Sirena’s careless ambition leads to a shattering betrayal Told with urgency intimacy and piercing emotion this New York Times bestselling novel is the riveting confession of a woman awakened transformed and abandoned by a desire for a world beyond her o. The book title is fantastic; just those few words create an image of someone lonely Who would want to be the woman upstairs Not me that’s for sure Nora the sad schoolteacher who narrates this story doesn’t want to be the woman upstairs either But she can’t change her MO no matter how hard she tries Nora euates the woman upstairs with mediocrity and mediocrity implies a lack of adventure a lack of success and a lack of passion She hopes she is finally breaking out of the mold when she falls in love with Sirena a glamorous Italian artist with a beautiful son and husband Nora isn’t just in love she is obsessed and her obsession fills her every waking moment But Nora never professes her love and her love affair remains a fantasy Nora is extremely self conscious and constantly wonders what Sirena thinks of her Since the story is told from Nora’s point of view we don’t really know what Sirena thinks of her either until the book ends and packs a wallop Nora who always wanted to be an artist is influenced by Sirena and they rent a studio space together Nora starts devoting all her free time to art although she thinks it’s a sham She is creating dollhouses inhabited by famous people and is merely reenacting history whereas Sirena is creating original art—big bizarre multi media installations Sirena asks Nora for help with her project and Nora is thrilled Mostly it gives Nora an excuse to be around Sirena though she likes the art part too In some ways it’s easy to relate to Nora She is full of major regret She always wanted to be an artist but like so many of us she sacrificed art to earn a decent living Did she sell out Did we I identified with her unwillingness to network and kiss up which the art worlds demand Who wants to schmooze Who wants the competition And then on top of that there’s the fear of failing Nora just wants to create art not struggle with egos and practicalities She feels like she missed her chance to pursue what she really wanted to do Or had she just been too scared or lazy to go after her dream Did she get hung up with money and comfort These are the things that Nora pondersMy major complaint is that not much happens At the beginning of the book Nora is pissed very pissed Her anger is strong and passionate and aggressive and I was getting revved up with her I was ready for the rest of the book to be high drama but the intensity drops off immediately as she flashes back to the events that led up to her being pissed and it’s slow going The old Nora who occupies most of the book is super passive and spends most of the time mulling things over I count about five events; the rest is brilliant internal monologue Don’t get me wrong—I love brilliant internal monologues But I don’t like it when they overpower the book when I find myself saying “Hurry up now Get to the point Let’s have something HAPPEN”Okay I know picky picky But indeed I have some other complaintsIt’s all in the ending Or is it The ending though super clever and astounding left me wanting a little closure So what happened THEN At least it was WAY better than the ending in “The Other Typist” which was ambiguous and REALLY frustratingThose damn dashes The writer went a little dash crazy especially toward the end of the book Overusing dashes like overusing parentheses makes the writing sloppy; every fragment seems like an afterthought or a bit of stream of consciousnessArt smarts Way too many detailed descriptions of art pieces A little is okay but a lot means I have to work too hard My head hurts I want dialogue I want relationships I don’t want descriptive text Granted the art pieces were super edgy and weird and 3 D but still Fuck Saying fuck is fine but please use it like you mean it Nora speaks pretty formally so I didn’t buy it when she said fuck and it was made worse by the fact that she used it very sparingly In my experience you either say fuck a lot or you don’t say it at all It jarred me every time I hope I’m not accused of the same thing Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck So there Really how old is she Is Nora just 37 Huh There’s a disconnect between the way Nora acts and her supposed age I didn’t buy it that she’s so set in her ways at 37 She thinks she missed the boat that her life is almost over that it’s too late to pursue art What She’s still a baby Her habits and even her thoughts seem like those of someone who's 50 or 60 or even 70 I’m 64 and I felt like she was my peer She needs a lot pep in her step for me to believe she’s in her mid 30sIt’s strange that this book resembles “The Other Typist” so much both books have a female narrator who is sad and solitary and who becomes obsessed with a charismatic woman And both have tons of internal monologues Nora is definitely likable and endearing than Rose in “The Other Typist” which made me like “The Woman Upstairs” betterWhat’s the final verdict It’s one of those books that I liked after I finished reading it And it’s one of those books where I highlighted a lot which always ups the rating It’s a good story with great insight into a complex character and the ending is priceless The book just gets bogged down in Nora’s thoughts at the expense of dialogue and action I do recommend it; I don’t think others will be so annoyed by the lack of action It’s a good read It gets a 40 despite my complaint board