How Then Must We Live?

If I had to summarise, most broadly, my concerns as a writer, I’d say the question ‘How then must we live?’ is at the heart of it, for me. It can only be addressed in the individual, not in the general; each of us on this planet must come to terms with this question for him or herself.

Goodreads.com. (2019). Claire Messud Quotes (Author of The Woman Upstairs). [online] Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2508.Claire_Messud [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].
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The Realization We May Not Achieve Our Fantasies Provokes Reactions

As any of us approaches middle age, we inevitably come up against our limitations: the realization that certain dearly-held fantasies may not be realized; that circumstances have thwarted us; that even with intention and will we may not be able to set our ship back on the course we’d planned. This provokes different reactions in different people.

Goodreads.com. (2019). Claire Messud Quotes (Author of The Woman Upstairs). [online] Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2508.Claire_Messud [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].

Illuminate A Particular Human Experience

As a writer, I subscribe to Chekhov’s world view: ‘It’s not my job to tell you that horse thieves are bad people. It’s my job to tell you what this horse thief is like.’ The more accurately one can illuminate a particular human experience, the better the work of art.

Goodreads.com. (2019). Claire Messud Quotes (Author of The Woman Upstairs). [online] Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2508.Claire_Messud [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].

Create A Work Of Art That Is True And Lasting

The effort to create a work of art that is true and potentially lasting, that is the very best work of art you can create at that point in your life – a book that may only reach or move a few people but will seem to those people somehow transformative. That’s the ideal; that’s always the motivation.

Goodreads.com. (2019). Claire Messud Quotes (Author of The Woman Upstairs). [online] Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2508.Claire_Messud [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].

Write A Voice Missing From The Chorus

Anyway, these books I love, they’re all books by men—every last one of them. Because if it’s unseemly and possibly dangerous for a man to be angry, it’s totally unacceptable for a woman to be angry. I wanted to write a voice that for me, as a reader, had been missing from the chorus: the voice of an angry woman.

Goodreads.com. (2019). Claire Messud Quotes (Author of The Woman Upstairs). [online] Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2508.Claire_Messud [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].