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77 Reviews
5 star:
 (23)
4 star:
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3 star:
 (15)
2 star:
 (11)
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Woman Scorned
Nora Eldridge, the heroine of Claire Messud's latest novel, narrates her own story in this unsettling tale. Nora is 42 years old and lives alone in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a dutiful daughter, a reliable friend, a good elementary school teacher, and a part-time artist who laments the fact that she has always lacked the courage and opportunity to become a full-time...
Published 20 months ago by Susie B

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I made myself finish it
I really struggled with THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS. The novel is narrated by Nora, a woman in her late thirties who teaches at a primary school. Nora is the woman upstairs - a single woman who, in her own words, would be seen to be in her spinsterhood. At the beginning of the novel, she tells us that she is angry, but she is not the sort of person to really show it. From the...
Published 11 months ago by Brida


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant and absorbing, 20 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Kindle Edition)
I'd been told that this book was about anger but in fact it was about so much more than that; about art, about ambition, about how we order our lives, and about that age-old gulf between the haves and the have nots. The antidote to Bridget Jones, it's an engagingly written novel about what we really want from life. I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and Nora's voice still lives on in my head, as fresh and as strident as ever. Definitely recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What do you do with your rage ?, 13 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Hardcover)
This is a fascinating book about Nora who feels she has missed out on life by being a good woman when she wanted to be a good artist. Claire Messud explores Nora`s feelings when she meets Sirena, who appears to have what Nora is hungry for: a lovely husband, a beautiful son, artistic acclaim and devastating self-assurance. The author shows how Nora is lured onto the rocks by her great need.

The book is so rich in psychological insight that I had to ration myself to a chapter at a time. It is not a quick read but it is a deeply satisfying one. It is full of questions like, "What do you do with your rage ?" Nora is hungry for more life and perhaps her very anger will energise her to achieve this.

Beautifully written. Why is Claire Messud not better known ?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and insightful, 7 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Hardcover)
I loved this book - intelligent, reflective, insightful and well paced. Great use of language and some wonderfully cutting comments on the pretentiousness of the modern art world.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Finally someone acknowledging the rage women carry. Unsettling read ..., 30 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Paperback)
Finally someone acknowledging the rage women carry. Unsettling read - but important in completing the picture of what it takes to be a woman.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea, 5 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Kindle Edition)
I have read some great books recently but unfortunately this is not one of them. I am finding it hard to get in to and am very unsure about the writers story telling style, it does not seem intriguing or authentic. I will persevere if I can just to see if it improves.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Strong storyline, 11 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Kindle Edition)
Interesting storyline with strong characters. Easy to read and a book that you don't want to stop reading
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Kindle Edition)
A complicated but enthralling read of spiralling obsession and the role of single women in our society
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I missed the point..., 26 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Paperback)
... but I thought this was dreadful. Trying very hard to be something it isn't, jumbled narrative and dull characters.

I've seen a lot of people raving about this so please judge for yourselves, but I really had to try hard to finish this.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a waste of time, 16 May 2014
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Kindle Edition)
I started this book with high hopes that it would be some sort of psychological novel, it promises much in the first few chapters with its anger and angst unfortunately it just gets bogged down in the tedium of a non relationship. It goes nowhere by the end and was a total waste of time to read.
I wouldn't recommend this book not unless you have a rainy week with all the ironing done, no dusting and no pets to care for. You'd be better off cleaning the cupboards or just reciting rhymes backwards.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 19 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Paperback)
I haven't read it due to my very satisfactory Kindle & eye problems.
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The Woman Upstairs
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
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