Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The small suffering of humanity, 14 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Hardcover)
I bought this book after reading that author Claire Messud slammed critics for expecting her to write characters that are sympathetic. I agree with her -- I'm fascinated by the dark secrets we all hold inside us, our least likable traits we hide from the world. Messud's protagonist Nora Eldridge is teeming with frustration, but her closest friends and family never know it. She becomes obsessed with her friend who has the two things she wants most: A child and a career as an artist. Messud digs deep to conjure up an entirely believable interior world for Nora. Reading this book was like delving into someone's private diary -- filled with wicked thoughts and small daily sufferings, the "bad thoughts" we've all quietly had. However, halfway through the book, I felt like it had all been said -- and Nora started to bore me by repeating the same frustrations over and over. There's not much of a plot to keep you interested, but I stuck with it hoping for the big "reveal." The climax, when it came, was shocking, but it wasn't enough to make this book entirely fulfilling. For creating a believable, interesting character and expressing the internal longings of humanity, Messud deserves huge praise; but as a story, this is one meal that didn't entirely satisfy.
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3.5 out of 5 stars (63 customer reviews)
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