cover image The Woman Upstairs

The Woman Upstairs

Claire Messud, read by Cassandra Campbell. Random House Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 11 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-307-91360-9

It’s not that elementary school teacher Nora Eldridge’s life has gone particularly wrong, it’s that it hasn’t gone particularly right. She sold out her artistic dreams for success and stability, and become angry and full of self-loathing somewhere along the way. But when a young student, Reza Shahid, and his family enter her life, Nora finds herself changing as she is drawn into the Shahids’ world. Cassadra Campbell’s narration is pitch-perfect. She shifts back and forth between the different characters, lending all of them unique voices that capture their complexity. Her first-person narration is a delightful blend of restraint and emotion that will keeps listeners slightly anxious at all the right moments. By striking this balance, she captures the hard edge of Nora—and of the text—in a way that will resonate with listeners. A Knopf hardcover. (Apr.)