Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud: Page One

I've been reading Clare Messud's new book, The Woman Upstairs for the last few days.  I'm almost 150 pages into the book, and I still don't really know what it's about.  I know what's going on; I'm just not sure what it's about, yet.  I've a feeling that something very bad is going to happen before it comes to an end, much the same way I did with Neil Bartlett's novel Skin Lane.

Meanwhile, I wanted to post the book's first page, because I just loved it. Ms. Messud had me from the first sentence. 

What follows is not safe for work.

How angry am I? You don't want to know.  Nobody wants to know about that.

I'm a good girl, I'm a nice girl, I'm a straight-A, strait-lace, good daughter, good career girl, and I never stole anybody's boyfriend and I never ran out on a girlfriend, and I put up with my parents' shit and my brother's shit, and I'm not a girl anymore, I'm over forty fucking years old, and I'm good at my job and I'm great with kids and I held my mother's hand when she died, after four years of holding her hand while she was dying, and I speak to my father everyday on the telephone--every day, mind you, and what kind of weather do you have on your side of the river, because here it's pretty gray and a bit muggy too?  It was supposed to say "Great Artist" on my tombstone, but if I died right now it would say "such a good teacher/daughter/friend" instead; and what I really want to shout, and want in big letters on that grave, too, is FUCK YOU ALL.

Don't all women feel the same?

If you've already read The Woman Upstairs through to the end, please keep it too yourself.  I should be done with the book by Monday.  A full review will probably follow.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Entertainment Weekly loved this book, but I just saw another review that really felt it was way too whiny. I'll be interested in your take.

JoAnn said...

What an opening! I'm getting closer to the top of the library hold list and can't wait to read it. Will be curious to hear what you think.