Alternate Side: A Novel

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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
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More by Anna Quindlen

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A superb love story from Anna Quindlen, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rise and Shine, Blessings, and A Short Guide to a Happy Life
 
Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.
 
Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

“There comes a moment in every novelist’s career when she . . . ventures into new territory, breaking free into a marriage of tone and style, of plot and characterization, that’s utterly her own. Anna Quindlen’s marvelous romantic comedy of manners is just such a book. . . . Taken as a whole, Quindlen’s writings represent a generous and moving interrogation of women’s experience across the lines of class and race. [Still Life with Bread Crumbs] proves all the more moving because of its light, sophisticated humor. Quindlen’s least overtly political novel, it packs perhaps the most serious punch. . . . Quindlen has delivered a novel that will have staying power all its own.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“[A] wise tale about second chances, starting over, and going after what is most important in life.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Quindlen’s astute observations . . . are the sorts of details every writer and reader lives for.”—Chicago Tribune

“[Anna] Quindlen’s seventh novel offers the literary equivalent of comfort food. . . . She still has her finger firmly planted on the pulse of her generation.”—NPR

“Enchanting . . . [The protagonist’s] photographs are celebrated for turning the ‘minutiae of women’s lives into unforgettable images,’ and Quindlen does the same here with her enveloping, sure-handed storytelling.”—People

“Charming . . . a hot cup of tea of a story, smooth and comforting about the vulnerabilities of growing older . . . a pleasure.”—USA Today
 
“With spare, elegant prose, [Quindlen] crafts a poignant glimpse into the inner life of an aging woman who discovers that reality contains much more color than her own celebrated black-and-white images.”—Library Journal
 
“Quindlen has always excelled at capturing telling details in a story, and she does so again in this quiet, powerful novel, showing the charged emotions that teem beneath the surface of daily life.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Quindlen presents instantly recognizable characters who may be appealingly warm and nonthreatening, but that only serves to drive home her potent message that it’s never too late to embrace life’s second chances.”—Booklist
 
“Profound . . . engaging.”—Kirkus Reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In a small town on the verge of big change, a young woman unearths deep secrets about her family and unexpected truths about herself. Filled with insights that are the hallmark of Anna Quindlen’s bestsellers, Miller’s Valley is an emotionally powerful story about a family you will never forget.

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.”

Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.” Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.

Praise for Miller's Valley

“Overwhelmingly moving . . . In this novel, where so much is about what vanishes, there is also a deep beating heart, of what also stays.”—The New York Times Book Review 

“Stunning . . . The matriarchal theme [is] at the heart of Miller’s Valley. Miriam pushes her smart daughter to consider college, and other women—a teacher, a doctor, a benefactor—will raise Mimi up past the raging waters that swirl in her heart.”—The Washington Post 

“Economical and yet elegant . . . [Anna Quindlen’s] storytelling and descriptive powers make Miller’s Valley compelling. . . . Miller’s Valley has a geography and fate all its own but its residents, realities, disappointments, joys and cycle of life feel familiar, in the best way possible.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A family story with humor, surprise, sorrow and mystery . . . Quindlen has created distinctive characters, none of whom seems like anyone you’ve met before in fiction.”—The Columbus Dispatch

“A breathtakingly moving look at a family.”—USA Today

“[Anna] Quindlen’s provocative novel will have you flipping through the pages of your own family history and memories even as you can’t stop reading about the Millers. . . . a coming-of-age story that reminds us that the past continues to wash over us even as we move away from the places and events that formed us.”—Chicago Tribune

“Picking up a novel by Anna Quindlen means more than just meeting a new family—it’s like moving in and pretending they are yours. It’s a rare gift for a writer, and Quindlen does it to near perfection.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Quindlen’s novel of a childhood examined by someone who literally can’t go home again is an incredibly engaging read. . . . Miller’s Valley takes familiar themes and manages to make them fresh and new.”—Bust
3.8
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Mar 20, 2018
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780812996074
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life / General
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Named to Buzzfeed's list of "5 Most Anticipated Women's Fiction Reads of 2018"

"Mrs. could be the next Big Little Lies."--EW

"Macy skewers power parents in this entertaining, sharp-eyed portrayal of privilege and it's price" -People Magazine


In the well-heeled milieu of New York's Upper East Side, coolly elegant Philippa Lye is the woman no one can stop talking about. Despite a shadowy past, Philippa has somehow married the scion of the last family-held investment bank in the city. And although her wealth and connections put her in the center of this world, she refuses to conform to its gossip-fueled culture.

Then, into her precariously balanced life, come two women: Gwen Hogan, a childhood acquaintance who uncovers an explosive secret about Philippa's single days, and Minnie Curtis, a newcomer whose vast fortune and frank revelations about a penurious upbringing in Spanish Harlem put everyone on alert.

When Gwen's husband, a heavy-drinking, obsessive prosecutor in the US Attorney's Office, stumbles over the connection between Philippa's past and the criminal investigation he is pursuing at all costs, this insulated society is forced to confront the rot at its core and the price it has paid to survive into the new millennium.

Macy has written a modern-day HOUSE OF MIRTH, not for the age of railroads and steel but of hedge funds and overnight fortunes, of scorched-earth successes and abiding moral failures. A brilliant portrait of love, betrayal, fate and chance, MRS marries razor-sharp social critique and page-turning propulsion into an unforgettable tapestry of the way we live in the 21st Century.
New York Times bestseller

An NPR pick for Best Books of 2018

An O, The Oprah Magazine's Best Book of 2018

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2018

One of Christian Science Monitor's best fiction reads of 2018

One of Newsweek's Best Books of the year

The New York Times bestselling author of Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, and The Poisonwood Bible and recipient of numerous literary awards—including the National Humanities Medal, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Orange Prize—returns with a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval.

How could two hardworking people do everything right in life, a woman asks, and end up destitute? Willa Knox and her husband followed all the rules as responsible parents and professionals, and have nothing to show for it but debts and an inherited brick house that is falling apart. The magazine where Willa worked has folded; the college where her husband had tenure has closed. Their dubious shelter is also the only option for a disabled father-in-law and an exasperating, free-spirited daughter. When the family’s one success story, an Ivy-educated son, is uprooted by tragedy he seems likely to join them, with dark complications of his own.

In another time, a troubled husband and public servant asks, How can a man tell the truth, and be reviled for it? A science teacher with a passion for honest investigation, Thatcher Greenwood finds himself under siege: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting work just published by Charles Darwin. His young bride and social-climbing mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his worries that their elegant house is unsound. In a village ostensibly founded as a benevolent Utopia, Thatcher wants only to honor his duties, but his friendships with a woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor threaten to draw him into a vendetta with the town’s powerful men.

Unsheltered is the compulsively readable story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey, navigating what seems to be the end of the world as they know it. With history as their tantalizing canvas, these characters paint a startlingly relevant portrait of life in precarious times when the foundations of the past have failed to prepare us for the future.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In a small town on the verge of big change, a young woman unearths deep secrets about her family and unexpected truths about herself. Filled with insights that are the hallmark of Anna Quindlen’s bestsellers, Miller’s Valley is an emotionally powerful story about a family you will never forget.

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.”

Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.” Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.

Praise for Miller's Valley

“Overwhelmingly moving . . . In this novel, where so much is about what vanishes, there is also a deep beating heart, of what also stays.”—The New York Times Book Review 

“Stunning . . . The matriarchal theme [is] at the heart of Miller’s Valley. Miriam pushes her smart daughter to consider college, and other women—a teacher, a doctor, a benefactor—will raise Mimi up past the raging waters that swirl in her heart.”—The Washington Post 

“Economical and yet elegant . . . [Anna Quindlen’s] storytelling and descriptive powers make Miller’s Valley compelling. . . . Miller’s Valley has a geography and fate all its own but its residents, realities, disappointments, joys and cycle of life feel familiar, in the best way possible.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A family story with humor, surprise, sorrow and mystery . . . Quindlen has created distinctive characters, none of whom seems like anyone you’ve met before in fiction.”—The Columbus Dispatch

“A breathtakingly moving look at a family.”—USA Today

“[Anna] Quindlen’s provocative novel will have you flipping through the pages of your own family history and memories even as you can’t stop reading about the Millers. . . . a coming-of-age story that reminds us that the past continues to wash over us even as we move away from the places and events that formed us.”—Chicago Tribune

“Picking up a novel by Anna Quindlen means more than just meeting a new family—it’s like moving in and pretending they are yours. It’s a rare gift for a writer, and Quindlen does it to near perfection.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Quindlen’s novel of a childhood examined by someone who literally can’t go home again is an incredibly engaging read. . . . Miller’s Valley takes familiar themes and manages to make them fresh and new.”—Bust
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