Freshly Brewed Book Reviews

The freshest book reviews from an avid bibliophile.

“Who is he who walks always beside you? No-fucking-body, thank you very much. I walk alone.”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)

“All of this you know, and you bury deep, like dead men, but they’re there, the skeletons are there, and you’re always with them.”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)

“The Woman Upstairs is like that. We keep it together. You don’t make a mess and you don’t make mistakes and you don’t call people weeping at four in the morning. You don’t reveal secrets it would be unseemly for you to have.”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)

“It was longing—”longing” is a better word than “desire”: it carries its quality of reaching but not attaining, of yearning, of a physical pull that is intense and yet melancholy, always already a little sorrowful, self-knowing, in some wise passionate and in some measure resigned. Desire suggests a burning, fervid, unreflective, something that wants, above all, satisfaction.”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)

“These words, these words are so imprecise, so inadequate: when I speak of love, or desire, or even of longing, the freight of these words is for each of us so particular.”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)

“When you’re the Woman Upstairs, nobody thinks of you first. Nobody calls you before anyone else, or sends you the first postcard. Once your mother dies, nobody loves you best of all. It’s a small thing, you might think; and maybe it depends upon your temperament; maybe for some people it’s a small thing.”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)

“If nobody at all could or would read in me the signs of worthiness—of artistic worth—then how could I be said to possess them? How could I convince myself, against the whole world’s determination?”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)

“Does Being Happy simply Create More Time, in the way that Being Sad, as we all know, slows time and thickens it, like cornstarch in a sauce?”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)

“Just because someone tells you in a reasonable way that you aren’t really feeling what you’re feeling, it doesn’t make the feeling go away.”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)

“'I'm not denying your feelings, I'm just asking a question about the story you're choosing to tell about those feelings, that's all.'”

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Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs)