Claire Messud


Claire Messud is the author of four novels and a book of novellas. Her novel The Emperor’s Children was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and was selected as one of the ten best books of 2006 by The New York Times. Her most recent novel is The Woman Upstairs. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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  • Revealing the Real Iran

    January 14, 2010

    When I landed at boarding school in Boston in the fall of 1980—from a public school in Toronto, another world—I assumed the Iranian girls knew the ropes better than I did. Posh New England culture was utterly alien to me; but how much more so must it have been to my fellow boarders lately of Tehran? Aware of the recent revolution—even at fourteen, one couldn’t not be—I nevertheless was unable to relate the girl brushing her teeth beside me in the dorm bathroom to mass demonstrations or the then ongoing hostage crisis half a world away. I never asked the Iranians a single question about their histories: it was tacitly accepted that it was too delicate a subject and, by force of silence, too remote from our placid world of emerald lawns and peeling white columns. What, I now wonder, must the Iranian girls have thought?