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The Upstairs House  By  cover art

The Upstairs House

By: Julia Fine
Narrated by: Courtney Patterson
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Publisher's Summary

"A massively entertaining and slyly enlightening story nestled inside another story like a ghost within its host." (Kathleen Rooney, author of Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk)

A provocative meditation on new motherhood - Shirley Jackson meets The Awakening - in which a postpartum woman’s psychological unraveling becomes intertwined with the ghostly appearance of children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown.

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). 

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©2021 Julia Fine (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Upstairs House

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Footnotes were super distracting

The story was fine, but the addition of reading footnotes at the end of each chapter ruined the flow of the book. It was hard to tell if it was still part of the story or not.

Maybe if they had been in a different voice they wouldn’t have been so distracting. Or at least add an option to skip them or not read them.

5 people found this helpful

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Creative story indeed!

I so enjoyed the way this writer incorporated the life of Margaret Wise Brown into a story about postpartum depression.
Helping to bring awareness to something as important as this illness in a novel was quite clever. I have loved Margaret Wise Browns books over the years of raising children and now sharing her books with great nieces and nephews.

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Disappointing in the extreme

The premise of this story was so intriguing and original that I eagerly dove in. Hours and hours later, I wish I could have that time back. Yes, I know that is clichéd, but I really do wish I had just acknowledged how poorly written and contrived the entire story was and given up rather than wasting my time. Like so many mediocre books (and I'm being kind here), the ending is both wonderful (yay! It's over!) and terrible (it is one of the worst uses of deus ex machina I've ever read). Magical realism is my favorite genre of literature, but the magic in this weaksauce and the realism is depressing as hell. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

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  • KT
  • 03-15-21

Upstairs House

This book’s character seems to be experiencing some post partum psychotic episodes. It’s too crazy for me to enjoy the story.