The Woman Upstairs

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A brilliant novel by Canada's own award-winning Claire Messud, author of the New York Times bestselling The Emperor's Children. The Woman Upstairs is the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed and betrayed by passion and the desire for a world beyond her own.
     Nora Eldridge, a 37-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was on the verge of disappearing into the background until Reza Shahid walked into her classroom. Nora is quickly drawn into the complex world of the Shahid family. Soon she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together, and happiness shatters her boundaries--until ambition leads to betrayal.
      Written with intimacy and piercing emotion, this urgently dispatched story of obsession and artistic fulfillment explores the thrill--and the devastating cost--of giving in to one's passions. The Woman Upstairs is a masterly story of America today, of being a woman and of the exhilarations of love.


LONGLISTED 2013 – Scotiabank Giller Prize
FINALIST 2013 – LA Times Book Prize

“An extraordinary novelist.... Messud’s ending is a triumph, pitch perfect. Nora’s frustration is grating, the way real-life frustration is. But in this novel, frustration makes way for something new, something beautiful.”
The Gazette
“A compelling new cerebral melodrama.... Messud is a sharp, nuanced storyteller.... Messud’s Nora is an original—a caustic vessel for exploring obsession, dependence, loneliness and creative expression.... The novel’s resolution...packs a quiet, shocking, but satisfying wallop.”
“In Nora, Messud has produced a clear-eyed, unsentimental and compelling portrait of an ordinary person quietly revealing their faults, uncertainties and insecurities.... Messud is a breathtaking writer—exemplified in the way she brings even the most peripheral characters to life in one swift, all-encompassing stroke.... The Woman Upstairs is ultimately a beautiful—and beautifully sustained—howl of fresh, fierce, furious rage.”
The Independent