Alternate Side

A Novel

    • 3.9 • 336 Ratings
    • $12.99
    • $12.99

Publisher Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Captures the angst and anxiety of modern life with . . . astute observations about interactions between the haves and have-nots, and the realities of life among the long-married.”—USA Today

A provocative novel that explores what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a woman at a moment of reckoning, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Miller’s Valley and Still Life with Bread Crumbs.

Some days 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? New York City was once Nora’s dream destination, and her clannish dead-end block has become a safe harbor, a tranquil village amid the urban craziness. The owners watch one another’s children grow up. They use the same handyman. They trade gossip and gripes, and they maneuver for the ultimate status symbol: a spot in the block’s small parking lot.

Then one morning, Nora returns from her run to discover that a terrible incident has shaken the neighborhood, and the enviable dead-end block turns into a potent symbol of a divided city. The fault lines begin to open: on the block, at Nora’s job, and especially in her marriage. 

Praise for Alternate Side

“[Anna] Quindlen’s quietly precise evaluation of intertwined lives evinces a keen understanding of and appreciation for universal human frailties.”Booklist (starred review)

“Exquisitely rendered . . . [Quindlen] is one of our most astute chroniclers of modern life. . . . [Alternate Side] has an almost documentary feel, a verisimilitude that’s awfully hard to achieve.”The New York Times Book Review

“An exceptional depiction of complex characters—particularly their weaknesses and uncertainties—and the intricacies of close relationships . . . Quindlen’s provocative novel is a New York City drama of fractured marriages and uncomfortable class distinctions.”Publishers Weekly

Fiction & Literature
March 20
Random House Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

asapr212 ,

Excellent Characters, Weak Plot Point - And I Liked It

The writer poses the question “Are sometimes things better when they are worse” and yes, that is true - and this book itself proves it. The “better” are the characters; they are wonderful. Drawn before, during and after a catalystic event, they resonate - I felt I could “see” them and relate to them. (I might even argue I am them in some ways.) The “worse” is the actual event, which I thought came a little late in the story and in fact had less impact than I would have expected, on the characters and on me as a reader. I am not even sure it was necessary to the story. But I am glad she had the idea for the event, because if not, we would likely never meet the characters, and I would be less for that. First book I read in a day and a night in a long time.

LoriChukk ,

Not Finishing

Based on the author’s previous works, I gave this a try. Now I’m wondering why. I am a third of the way through it, and have just discovered what the “terrible incident” is. Without spoiling it for those of you who might pick up the book, suffice it to say that it is so meaningless/inconsequential that I am going to stop reading. I have only done that with 1 other book in my 50 years of avid reading. This is a total waste of time! As patts552 stated, BORING.

bailey1469 ,


If you are an uppity person from New York you will love this book. If you are not; you will wonder why you took the time to read this pretentious woah is me I am rich and sad garbage. Get your dictionary out.

More Books by Anna Quindlen


Customers Also Bought