The Woman Upstairs by Claire MessudRead about another book on the list.
Nora Eldridge, the narrator of Messud’s incandescent novel, once dreamed of being an artist, a wife, and a mother. Instead, due to caring for her aging parents and other concerns, she has ended up a single, middle-aged woman with a career as an elementary school teacher. Then she becomes enamored of the family of one of her students, Reza Shahid. His mother is Sirena, an Italian artist who invites Nora to share her studio space and return to her work as an artist, and his father is a Lebanese professor in Boston on a fellowship. Nora is drawn in, wanting to be a part of the Shahids’ lives, but finding Sirena respects no boundaries between art and life.
The Woman Upstairs is among Joyce Maynard's six favorite books and Alex Hourston’s top ten unlikely friendships in literature.