One title on the list:
The Woman Upstairs, by Claire MessudRead about the other entries on the list.
Fierce emotions and complex psychology are close to the surface in this brilliant, searing novel. The protagonist, Nora Eldridge, a 37-year-old elementary school teacher, is the fastidious, self-proclaimed Woman Upstairs, who spends days with 8-year-olds and nights and weekends working on her art: creating shoebox-sized dioramas of the living spaces of heroines like Virginia Woolf. She lives quietly and meticulously, until the Shahid family—Skandar, Sirena, and their son, Reza—enter her world, and ambitions and passions long laid to rest quickly come to light. Nora is destabilized, entranced by the entire Shahid family: Skandar, the Harvard professor; Sirena, the flamboyant Italian artist; and beautiful Reza. For Nora, the Shahids come to represent all that’s missing from her isolated existence, and the end result is a novel of self-realization that will stay with you long after you finish.