Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen

Alternate Side

The tensions in a tight-knit neighborhood—and a seemingly happy marriage—are exposed by an unexpected act of violence in this provocative new novel 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...

Details Alternate Side

TitleAlternate Side
Release DateMar 20th, 2018
PublisherRandom House
GenreFiction, Contemporary

Reviews Alternate Side

  • Debra
    Marital Complicity and parking spaces are really the driving forces in this book. Nora and Charlie Nolan appear to have it all. They live on a dead-end street in a very stately home in New York City. On the outside they seem as though they have a good life - if only they could have that prized parking spot! Their children are older and are away at college, Nora and Charlie should be enjoying their time together - but then a violent incident occur...
  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 Usually I become attached to this authors books rather quickly. That was not the case with this one, though the premise was interesting. A dead end street in New York, peopled by many of the same types, all overly privileged, out of touch with the little people. Most not very likable. Nora is our narrator, a mother, wife, with two grown children. She at least questions some of what she sees, actually has a brain that thinks. An incident happe...
  • Linda
    Two people can share one umbrella, but can they survive the storm together?Manhattan is the mecca for those who weave their way onto the wide and burgeoning lap of New York City. Funny how that works out. Most who possess the placcard of New Yorker are from someplace else.Charlie and Nora Nolan have set stakes on a deadend street in this part of New York City. Most of the stately homes are from an era of long ago. Their twins, Oliver and Rachel, ...
  • Angela M
    “Miller’s Valley” was the first book I read by Anna Quindlen and I was so taken with the characters, the story, her writing in that book. I didn’t end up liking this one as much. The writing is good. I always enjoy books about NYC, and there are some important observations about marriage and how people connect. Quindlen provides food for thought in this book. The dichotomy between the lives of the wealthy people on this street and those w...
  • Liz
    This story couldn’t take place anywhere but New York City. It is almost a love story to the city. I mean, where else would snagging a parking space be such a huge event? It’s a story of first world problems and it’s the 1% of the first world. But that doesn’t make it boring. In typical fashion, Quinlen nails the static existence of a long term marriage, the highs and lows of being almost empty nesters, the quirky neighbors. Thank God she ...
  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    This is the first book that I have read by Ms. Quindlen and the premise sounded like a great read. Many of my friends really enjoyed it, I am among the few that did not. Here’s why.I love character driven novels, the problem I had with this book is that I really didn’t like or care about any of the characters. The first person narrative is told to us by Nora Nolan, a New York city dweller since she graduated from college. She and her husband,...
  • Theresa Alan
    3.5 stars. The first twelve percent of this novel drops so many names it’s dizzying. You learn the name of everyone in the neighborhood, including children and dogs. I was keeping notes so I could remember in case anything ever actually happened. MY GOD GET TO THE STORY. There is a lot of funny commentary about marriage and the quirks of living in New York City. It turns out that, while eventually there is an inciting incident that pits neighbo...
  • Esil
    4+ starsOften, I’m an outlier because I don’t like books that many of my GR friends liked. This time I feel like an outlier because I really enjoyed reading Alternate Sides, when it seems to be tanking with many of my GR friends.Not much happens in Alternate Sides and the characters generally don’t evoke much sympathy. The story focuses on a group of neighbours who live on a rare dead end street in Manhattan. They own their Victorian houses...
  • Cheri
    “You can have ManhattanI know it's for the bestI'll gather up the avenuesAnd leave them on your doorstepAnd I'll tip toe awaySo you won't have to sayYou heard me leave“You can have ManhattanThe one we used to shareThe one where we were laughingAnd drunk on just being thereHang on to the reverieCould you do that for me'Cause I'm just too sad to“You can have Manhattan'Cause I can't have you” -- Manhattan – lyrics by Sara BareillesTypical...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    3.75 quiet stars to Alternate Side, my first novel by Anna Quindlen! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐.75Alternate Side was a clever title for a story about the haves and have nots and neighbors on two sides of an issue. Set on a dead end street in Manhattan, Nora Nolan, married to Charlie, narrates this story. Overflowing with characters all residing close together, it took some time to get everyone straight. The pinnacle event happens over a dispute about a parking ...
  • Norma * Traveling Sister
    3.5 Stars rounded up!ALTERNATE SIDE by ANNA QUINDLEN is an enjoyable, entertaining, and easy read that made me laugh, think, reflect, and ponder.ANNA QUINDLEN delivers an interesting, insightful, well-written and engaging story here set on a dead-end block in Manhattan. The story is narrated exclusively by Nora and through her perspective we really get an inside look into her thoughts. Her thoughts is what I really enjoyed the most!ALTERNATE SIDE...
  • Susanne Strong
    3.5 Stars* (rounded up)Parking spaces and marital strife are at the heart of “Alternate Side” by Anna Quindlen. Nora and Charlie live on a dead end street in NYC. Their life is consumed with work and their kids. And then it happens - after many years of living on their street, Charlie finally gets that coveted parking spot and he couldn’t be happier. For him, it is the ultimate, it means he has arrived. Nora, on the other hand, can’t help...
  • Marialyce
    2.5 very disappointing starsThis was the first book that I have read by this author and unfortunately it seems to have been a poor choice for me. I found this book both dull and rambling and even though I am a former New Yorker, I thought the descriptions of the neighbors to be off. I did appreciate what this author was trying to do, but overall for me it fell quite flat. I could not for the life of me get invested into the characters Ms Quindlen...
  • JanB
    Nora and Charlie are wealthy, soon-to-be empty nesters who live in an exclusive, tight-knit neighborhood in NYC, where very few of the characters are likable. Although their lives are not relatable - I’m not a wealthy New Yorker living in a posh neighborhood - many of Nora’s insights were. I like the way Anna Quindlen writes in a quiet way and delivers sentences and passages without a lot of fanfare, but they make me pause and thoughtfully co...
  • Dianne
    I'm a big Anna Quindlen fan. You can always count on Quindlen for stellar writing and perceptive, insightful explorations into her characters and their life situations. That said, I was a little put off by the tone of this book at first - it came off as arch and sardonic, which I wasn't expecting. It didn't seem very "Anna Quindlen-ish."But, hey.....she came through again. I fell into the rhythm of the story and the characters and the tone began ...
  • Brenda - Traveling Sister
    I was lost in the clannish, quiet, rich yet barren coulee with four of my Traveling Sisters reading Alternate Side. We found a nice quiet spot at the end of the coulee hidden away from the noise of the world as we emerged ourselves in the drama of this tight-knit neighborhood in New York City. Things started off a little slow and quiet for us as we got to know the complex and interesting characters. We were getting sleepy when an unexpected crime...
    3.5 StarsNora and Charlie Nolan have been married almost 25 years. Their kids are Rachel and Oliver, twins who are away at their respective colleges. The Nolans own one of the brownstones on a dead end block in New York City. Where one of the buildings should be, there is a gap. Apparently, years ago one of the buildings had burned to the ground, but was never rebuilt. Instead, this space has been used as a parking lot for several of the building...
  • ☮Karen
    This will be a difficult review, because I have loved every one of Anna Quindlen's books -- but I didn't love this one. She writes about New York life and motherhood, neither of which have much to do with me, yet I still find her stories and her storytelling flawless.However, I almost didn't finish this book because at first it was all about a parking lot on a dead end street. And a husband who was obsessed with renting a spot and proud as a peac...
  • Martie Nees Record
    Genre:          Literary FictionPublisher:    Random HousePub. Date:    March 2018The author, Anna Quindlen, writes something you do not often find: bestseller literary fiction.  Most books on the bestseller list are usually commercial fiction, not literary.  Both types of fiction require talent.  But the aim of commercial fiction is entertainment.  The aim of literary fiction is art.  Generally, there is a more attention to style....
  • Diane Barnes
    "People go through life thinking they're making decisions, when they're really just making plans, which is not the same thing at all. And along the way, they get a little damaged, lots of tiny cracks, holding together, but damaged still". As always, I enjoy Anna Quindlen's novels because her people seem real to me, even though the settings and plots are widely different. In this one, I completely identified with Nora, and entered into her world i...
  • Jennifer
    "Their marriage had become like the AA prayer: 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.' Or at least to move into a zone in which I so don't care anymore and scarcely notice. Nora had thought this was their problem alone until she realized that it was what had happened to almost everyone she knew who was still married, even some of those who were on their second husbands." Quindlen strikes gold again in her latest novel a...
  • Bookworm
    DNF at 65%. What the heck happened in Ms. Quindlen's latest book Alternate Side??? Seriously, I'm dumbfounded and disappointed. Where's the plot??? I can't believe this is the same author who wrote Black and Blue, One True Thing and Every Last One, which are all books I quite enjoyed. Alternate Side is certainly a character driven narrative and we get to know the characters quite well....but man are there ever a lot of them! It took me a third of...
  • Bam
    *3.5 stars rounded up.Alternate Sides: the theme of there being two sides to everything is examined over and over in this new book by Anna Quindlen. 'Alternate sides' could refer to something as simple as which side to park on street cleaning days. It could refer to have and have-nots, the rich and their servants. It could refer to differing personalities, different sexes, different opinions, two sides to a story. Real and fake...Alternate Side s...
  • Marie
    “Their marriage had become like the AA prayer: ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.’ Or at least to move into a zone in which I so don’t care anymore and scarcely notice. Nora had thought this was their problem alone until she realized that it was what had happened to almost everyone she knew who was still married, even some of those who were on their second husbands.”This quiet novel has a subtle profundity...
  • Staci
    I could finish this book. I got halfway through it and just could not engage in this story. There is an incident in an upper class New York City neighborhood which causes discord between the residence. The incident didn't take place until about a third of the way through the book but I was patient. I read all the character backstories, marriage histories, and musings about the city and its out of control real estate prices, all the while waiting ...
  • Silvanna
    I find it hard to classify this novel. Over and above I’d say it is a love letter to New York...not sure what else to add.
  • Donna
    Anna Quindlen has been a favorite author of mine for several years, so I was excited to have the chance to read and review her latest, "Alternate Side," the story of a couple who live in a well-to-do neighborhood in Manhattan.Several pages in, I became slightly disenchanted, as the story went on for what seemed like forever about a parking lot on the dead-end street where the neighbors lived. The lot does play a significant role in the book, and ...
  • Michelle
    I was excited to read Alternate Side as I had really enjoyed Quindlen's previous novel Miller's Valley. What I have come to realize is that what Quindlen does well is incorporate the setting as a character unto itself. Whereas Miller's Valley was set in a small rural town with deep roots and focused on the "Have-nots", Alternate Side is told from the perspective of the "Haves". Using this sense of place the insular neighborhood in New York City w...
  • Liz
    The first 85 pages were all over the place. Too quickly were we introduced to each of the residents of the dead-end street and way too much information not organized very well for the reader. I would have put this down almost immediately because it wasn’t really “sucking me in” (like I love a good book to do!) BUT, Alas! I am a huge fan of books taking place in NYC. The tidbits and references about living in New York City was the one thing ...
  • Karen Kay
    I received this from in exchange for a review. From the blurb .. "The tensions in a tight-knit neighborhood—and a seemingly happy marriage—are exposed by an unexpected act of violence". And that 'act of violence' was about the only interesting thing in the book. I like character driven stories but this one didn't capture my attention, dry reading. I skimmed the last half of the book to get the gist of it. 3 ☆