The Upstairs House by Julia Fine

Rewriting a children’s book during postpartum delusions.

“The word ‘sensitivity’ comes from the Old French ‘sensitif”, which means ‘capable of feeling.’ In a way I supposed it was good, to know that I was and I could.”

~ Julie Fine, The Upstairs House.

After the birth of her daughter Chloe, new mother Megan sees and interacts with the new upstairs neighbor, who is none other than the children’s author, Margaret Wise Brown. 

Megan is drawn into the ghostly affairs and life of Brown, and sometimes Brown even babysits Chloe — with disastrous results. Because no one else has ever seen or interacted with the neighbour.

The Upstairs House is a unique and disturbing glimpse into postpartum blues; a new mother’s descent into madness and insecurity.

Those who have read Brown’s children’s books will appreciate the twists in similar scenes in this vivid, sometimes stark narrative. 

The Upstairs House reminded me of works by Alice Hoffman because of the surreal imagery and descriptions, and the mind games.

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