The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

When you have become a stranger to your own life

Nora, a repressed school teacher, is transformed when she meets Sirena, an artist. We have all been the “woman upstairs” – nice, selfless, forgotten.  She is the controlled façade who you look to for stability and look away when she seems human.  Outside she is marble; inside, feeling the weight of an uneventful life.  Dreams of a transcending life stabbed through by reality.  She is the bastion of duty.  While she smiles benevolently at everyone, she is raging inside, overwhelming despair threatening to come to the surface. Nora is not one woman – she is every woman you have known or been yourself.

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