Today’s feature is a new book: The Upstairs House, by Julia Fine.
Intro: (November 1950)
Death flaunts itself on every tree, and Margaret looks out the hospital window, calling it beautiful.
Typical, thinks Michael. The others have gone to the washroom, to interrogate the nurses, to the hotel to retrieve a fresh shirt. Margaret has stayed. Margaret is here.
Sirens approached, the full-on fire brigade clanging down the silent street. Lights turned on in the condo across the way. (p. 59).
Synopsis: There’s a madwoman upstairs, and only Megan Weiler can see her.
Ravaged and sore from giving birth to her first child, Megan is mostly raising her newborn alone while her husband travels for work. Physically exhausted and mentally drained, she’s also wracked with guilt over her unfinished dissertation—a thesis on mid-century children’s literature.
Enter a new upstairs neighbor: the ghost of quixotic children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown—author of the beloved classic Goodnight Moon—whose existence no one else will acknowledge. It seems Margaret has unfinished business with her former lover, the once-famous socialite and actress Michael Strange, and is determined to draw Megan into the fray. As Michael joins the haunting, Megan finds herself caught in the wake of a supernatural power struggle—and until she can find a way to quiet these spirits, she and her newborn daughter are in terrible danger.
Using Megan’s postpartum haunting as a powerful metaphor for a woman’s fraught relationship with her body and mind, Julia Fine once again delivers an imaginative and “barely restrained, careful musing on female desire, loneliness, and hereditary inheritances” (Washington Post).
Would you keep reading?