For everyone Book review: A Dream Life, Claire Messud (Tablo Publishing)

★★★★

Award-winning American author Claire Messud turns her attention to Australia in her latest, a novella set in the 1970s. When Alice and Teddy Armstrong and their two children move from New York, their rented mansion on Sydney Harbour is a far cry from their two-bedroom NYC apartment. But all is not what it seems, and the changes are going to take some getting used to. 

Alice’s husband is working, leaving her to look after the huge house. The action takes a dark turn when she seeks help with the running of the grand house, and a stream of housekeepers – from Miss Bliss to Simone Funk – arrive. They do not live up to Alice’s expectations. 

A story of lies, trickery and self-deception unravels menacingly in this expertly crafted story. As well as being a novelist, Messud is a literature and creative writing professor. A clever and sophisticated writer, the book shimmers with her sharp insights.

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