From the author of The Reader, comes another novel about a complex and mysterious woman. Irene has three men in love with her. Gundlach, her wealthy husband has commissioned a painting of her nude descending a staircase, Schwind, the soon to be famous artist who authored the painting and becomes Irene’s lover, and the nameless narrator, a young lawyer who has been brought in to settle a dispute between Irene’s husband and lover. The painting and Irene soon disappear, but the work of art surfaces many years later in a gallery. Each of the three men track down Irene, and meet again on a remote Australian island.
The Woman on the Stairs is more than a love “rectangle.” It is a novel about the ownership of art, how the past shapes the present and the future, and life lived avoiding emotional relationships.