For fans of Elizabeth Strout and Anne Tyler comes a brilliantly provocative novel from the Richard and Judy Book Club and Number One bestselling author Anna Quindlen. 'Mesmerizing. Quindlen makes her characters so richly alive, so believable, that it's impossible not to feel every doubt and dream they harbour . . . Overwhelmingly moving' New York Times
Anna Quindlen follows her highly-praised novel Miller's Valley – 'reads like a companion to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge', Elisabeth Egan – with a captivating novel about money, class and self-discovery set in the heart of New York where the tensions in a tight-knit neighbourhood – and a seemingly happy marriage – are exposed by an unexpected act of violence.
There are days when Nora Nolan thinks that she and her husband, Charlie, lead a charmed life – except when there's a crisis at work, a leak in the roof at home or a problem with their twins at college. And why not? Nora has never stopped loving New York, and their street has become a safe harbour, a tranquil village amid the urban craziness. The residents watch one another's children grow up. They trade gossip and gripes, and they manoeuvre for the ultimate status symbol: a spot in the block's small parking lot. Then, into their secure, privileged midst comes an unexpected act of violence and their enviable neighbourhood turns into a potent symbol of a divided city.
This is a novel of domesticity, of the jarring cacophony of city life and of daily routine and conversation and expectation being suddenly, awkwardly disrupted. It is about the change of dynamics wrought within a family when children leave home and the fading of love within an outwardly settled marriage.
Utterly absorbing and impeccably observed, Alternate Side explores, too, what it means to be a mother, a wife and a woman at a moment of reckoning.
'Qualities and shades of love are this writer's strong suit, and she has the unusual talent for writing about them with so much truth and heart that one is carried away on a tidal wave of involvement and concern' Elizabeth Jane Howard
'I'm a big fan of US author Anna Quindlen's sharp writing. Her latest novel, Alternate Side, is a clear-eyed look at a long marriage, written with wit and warmth' Good Housekeeping 'A book about being a mother, a wife and a woman at a moment of reckoning, this is an acutely observed story' Stylist Books 'Middle age proves treacherous ground in this smart comedy of manners... Insightful, acerbic and pleasingly tinged with melancholy' Mail on Sunday