The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
(A. A. Knopf, 2013, 253 pages)
This book could almost be called a psychological thriller but it never quite gets to the thrill part; even so I would still recommend it. I have not read any other books by Claire Messud (her best know is The Emperor’s Children) but after reading The Woman Upstairs I think I might. While this particular book is a little bit hit and miss, the parts where she hit the mark are brilliant.
“Nora Eldridge, an elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, long ago compromised her dream to be a successful artist, mother and lover. She has instead become the “woman upstairs,” a reliable friend and neighbor always on the fringe of others’ achievements. Then into her life arrives the glamorous and cosmopolitan Shahids—her new student Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale, and his parents: Skandar, a dashing Lebanese professor who has come to Boston for a fellowship at Harvard, and Sirena, an effortlessly alluring Italian artist.”