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Claire Messud


Claire Messud

Claire Messud is the author of seven works of fiction. A recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she teaches at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Claire Messud

Books by Claire Messud

by Claire Messud - Fiction, Historical Fiction

Over seven decades, from 1940 to 2010, the pieds-noirs Cassars live in an itinerant state --- separated in the chaos of World War II, running from a complicated colonial homeland, and, after Algerian independence, without a homeland at all. THIS STRANGE EVENTFUL HISTORY is above all a family story: of patriarch Gaston and his wife, Lucienne, whose myth of perfect love sustains them and stifles their children; of François and Denise, devoted siblings connected by their family’s strangeness; of François’ union with Barbara, a woman so culturally different they can barely comprehend one another; and of Chloe, the result of that union, who believes that telling these buried stories will bring them all peace.

by Claire Messud - Autobiography, Essays, Nonfiction

In 26 intimate, brilliant and funny essays, Claire Messud reflects on a childhood move from her Connecticut home to Australia; the complex relationship between her modern Canadian mother and a fiercely single French Catholic aunt; and a trip to Beirut, where her pied-noir father had once lived, while he was dying. She meditates on contemporary classics from Kazuo Ishiguro, Teju Cole, Rachel Cusk and Valeria Luiselli; examines three facets of Albert Camus and THE STRANGER; and tours her favorite paintings at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. In the luminous title essay, she explores her drive to write, born of the magic of sharing language and the transformative powers of “a single successful sentence.”

by Claire Messud - Fiction, Women's Fiction

When the Armstrong family moves from New York at the dawn of the 1970s, Australia feels, to Alice Armstrong, like the end of the earth. Residing in a grand manor on the glittering Sydney Harbour, her family finds their life has turned upside down. As she navigates this strange new world, Alice must weave an existence from its shimmering mirage.

by Claire Messud - Fiction

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. THE BURNING GIRL is a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles childhood’s imaginary worlds and painful adult reality.

by Claire Messud - Fiction

Now in her late 30s, Nora Eldridge, a childless, unmarried third-grade teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has given up her dream of becoming a great artist. But when videomaker Sirena Shahid and her husband and eight-year-old son arrive from Paris for a year abroad, they rekindle Nora’s long-dormant passions and instill hope that her fantasy is still attainable. THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS is a quiet novel of resentment and of the perils of fast friendship.