Friday, December 06, 2013
Reading The Upstairs Woman, Claire Messud
The Woman Upstairs
Hardcover, 253 pages
A.A. Knopf, April 30, 2013
I was so disappointed in this book, yet didn't expect to be wowed. What is the plot in this book? It's so meandering and fuzzy; no clear direction. The obsessiveness of the woman (Nora Eldridge) was completely unnerving, but not in an enigmatic way. It didn't really lend anything to the story, except make her a creepy third grade teacher.
There's a bit of harping on age-Apparently 37 is considered "spinsterhood" in the book. I'll be that age in a few years. It doesn't mean spinsterhood or the end of everything exciting. I was always waiting for something extraordinary to really happen, even if quietly.
The book opens with Nora raging at something unsaid at this point. It's a good line, a hook: "How angry am I? You don't want to know. Nobody wants to know about THAT." It makes you ask "Why? Why are you so angry?? Yes! I do want to know!" The reason for her anger certainly was dramatic, even traumatic. Still, I thought the story would lead up to it and be something truly earth-shaking. It was like the story bubbled and boiled in the beginning and went to a slow simmer towards the end(i.e., anti-climactic)
You can read more of my reviews at Goodreads.