Claire Messud - Author

About the Author

Claire Messud was educated at Yale and Cambridge. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady, and her book of novellas, The Hunters, were finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; her second novel, The Last Life, was a Publishers' Weekly Best Book of the Year; all three books were New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship and the Straus Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with her husband and children.
 

Featured books by Claire Messud

Other books by Claire Messud

The Burning Girl A Novel

The Burning Girl A Novel

Author: Claire Messud Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/06/2018

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, expertly, childhood's imaginary worlds and painful adult reality-crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence. Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way. The Burning Girl was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Vogue, NPR, Financial Times, Town & Country, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Refinery29, and Literary Hub.

The Burning Girl

The Burning Girl

Author: Claire Messud Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/05/2018

A bracing and hypnotic portrait of the complexities of female friendship from the New York Times bestselling author of The Woman Upstairs. Julia Robinson and Cassie Burnes 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: while Julia comes from a stable, happy, middle-class family, Cassie never knew her father, who died when she was an infant, and has an increasingly tempestuous relationship with her single mother, Bev. When Bev becomes involved with the mysterious Anders Shute, Cassie feels cruelly abandoned. Disturbed, angry and desperate for answers, she sets out on a journey that will put her own life in danger, and shatter her oldest friendship. Compact, compelling, and ferociously sad, The Burning Girl is at once a story about childhood, friendship and community, and a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about childhood and friendship. Claire Messud brilliantly mixes folklore and Bildungsroman, exploring the ways in which our made-up stories, and their consequences, become real.

When the World Was Steady A Novel

When the World Was Steady A Novel

Author: Claire Messud Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/08/2017

In this highly acclaimed novel, life isn't all Emmy and Virginia Simpson anticipated. When Emmy's marriage ends, she flees her home in Sydney to find herself on the island of Bali-only to become embroiled with a crew of international misfits and smugglers. Her prim and pious sister Virginia, meanwhile, has never wandered far outside of London. Struggling to find meaning, Virginia follows her aging mother's advice to vacation on the Isle of Skye. On these two islands halfway around the world, the middle-aged sisters confront the costs of self-knowledge and their destinies with unexpected consequences.

The Burning Girl

The Burning Girl

Author: Claire Messud Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/08/2017

A bracing and hypnotic portrait of the complexities of female friendship from the New York Times bestselling author of The Woman Upstairs. Julia Robinson and Cassie Burnes 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: while Julia comes from a stable, happy, middle-class family, Cassie never knew her father, who died when she was an infant, and has an increasingly tempestuous relationship with her single mother, Bev. When Bev becomes involved with the mysterious Anders Shute, Cassie feels cruelly abandoned. Disturbed, angry and desperate for answers, she sets out on a journey that will put her own life in danger, and shatter her oldest friendship. Compact, compelling, and ferociously sad, The Burning Girl is at once a story about childhood, friendship and community, and a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about childhood and friendship. Claire Messud brilliantly mixes folklore and Bildungsroman, exploring the ways in which our made-up stories, and their consequences, become real.

The Burning Girl A Novel

The Burning Girl A Novel

Author: Claire Messud Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/08/2017

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, expertly, childhood's imaginary worlds and painful adult reality-crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence. Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

The Emperor's Children

The Emperor's Children

Author: Claire Messud, Neel Mukherjee Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/08/2015

With an introduction by Neel Mukherjee. In Manhattan, just after the century's turn, three thirty-year-old friends, Danielle, Marina and Julius, are seeking their fortunes. But the arrival of Marina's young cousin Bootie - fresh from the provinces and keen, too, to make his mark - forces them to confront their own desires and expectations. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud is an American classic: a sweeping portrait of one of the most fascinating cities in the world, and a haunting illustration of how the events of a single day can change everything, for ever.

The Woman Upstairs

The Woman Upstairs

Author: Claire Messud Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/01/2014

Nora Eldridge has always been a good girl: a good daughter, colleague, friend, employee. She teaches at an elementary school where the children and the parents adore her; but her real passion is her art, which she makes alone, unseen. One day Reza Shahid appears in her classroom: eight years old, a perfect, beautiful boy. Reza's father has a fellowship at Harvard and his mother is a glamorous and successful installation artist. Nora is admitted into their charmed circle, and everything is transformed. Or so she believes. Liberation from her old life is not quite what it seems, and she is about to suffer a betrayal more monstrous than anything she could have imagined.

Woman Upstairs

Woman Upstairs

Author: Claire Messud Format: eBook Release Date: 30/04/2013

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor's Children, a masterly new novel: the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed and betrayed by a desire for a world beyond her own. Nora Eldridge, an elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, long ago compromised her dream to be a successful artist, mother and lover. She has instead become the ';woman upstairs,' a reliable friend and neighbor always on the fringe of others' achievements. Then into her life arrives the glamorous and cosmopolitan Shahidsher new student Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale, and his parents: Skandar, a dashing Lebanese professor who has come to Boston for a fellowship at Harvard, and Sirena, an effortlessly alluring Italian artist. When Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies, Nora is drawn deep into the complex world of the Shahid family; she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora's happiness explodes her boundaries, and she discovers in herself an unprecedented ferocityone that puts her beliefs and her sense of self at stake. Told with urgency, intimacy and piercing emotion, this brilliant novel of passion and artistic fulfillment explores the intensity, thrilland the devastating costof embracing an authentic life.

Four Novels

Four Novels

Author: Claire Messud, Irene Nemirovsky Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/09/2007

Readers everywhere were introduced to the work of Irene Nemirovsky through the publication of her long-lost masterpiece, Suite Francaise. But Suite Francaise was only a coda to the brief yet remarkably prolific career of this nearly forgotten, yet hugely talented novelist, who fled Russia for Paris after the Revolution and died at Auschwitz at the age of 39. Here in one volume are four of Nemirovsky's other novels - all of them newly translated by the award-winning Sandra Smith, and all, except David Golder, available in English for the first time. David Golder is the book that established Nemirovsky's reputation in France in 1929 when she was twenty-six. It is a novel about greed and loneliness, the story of an ageing Russian Jewish businessman,an exile in France, learning to confront death and the knowledge that wealth has not brought him happiness. The Ball is both a sensitive exploration of adolescenceand a mercilessexposure of bourgeois social pretension. Snow in Autumn is an evocative tale of White Russian emigres in Paris, while in The Courilof Affair a retired Russian revolutionary recalls an infamous assassinationcommitted in his youth. Introduced by novelist Claire Messud.

The Emperor's Children

The Emperor's Children

Author: Claire Messud Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/04/2007

In Manhattan, just after the century's turn, three thirty-year-old friends, Danielle, Marina and Julius, are seeking their fortunes. But the arrival of Marina's young cousin Bootie - fresh from the provinces and keen, too, to make his mark - forces them to confront their own desires and expectations. The Emperor's Children is a sweeping portrait of one of the most fascinating cities in the world, and a haunting illustration of how the events of a single day can change everything, for ever. `Brilliant . . . a masterpiece' Independent on Sunday `Intelligent and unsparing . . . The Emperor's Children is likely to be one of the most talked-about novels of the autumn . . . Buy two copies; give one to a friend' The Economist `Messud's prose is a timely and intensely pleasurable reminder of the possibilities of the English language. To use the word clarity about her style - dense, chaste, luminously intelligent - is to return the word to its origins; this is style as illumination, shining a searching yet sympathetic light on the minds and inner worlds of her characters, and as a radiant mode of moral inquiry' The Times `As large-hearted as it is ambitious, this is a novel that combines the old-fashioned art of storytelling with a clear-eyed view of the modern world' Sunday Times

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