Alternate Side

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 May 2018

Member Reviews

ALTERNATE SIDE (2018)
By Anna Quindlen
Random House, 304 pages
★★★

On a scale from zero to five, how should one rate a very well written novel populated with no one you find remotely interesting or likable? Anna Quindlen’s latest, Alternate Side, takes us inside a single cul-de-sac block. Residents sport surnames such as Nolan, Fenstermacher, Lessman, Fisk, and Rizzoli but the only diversity you find in this neighborhood is the imported help. How much do you care about rich, over-privileged, over-pampered Manhattanites? I couldn't care less.

Ostensibly Alternate Sides revolves around Nora and Charlie Nolan, who have been married for 25 years. They have twins, Rachel and Oliver...

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I am a fan of Anna Quindlen, and was excited to receive a copy of this book through Net Galley. I wish I could say that I like this as much as I do her other books, but I could not. The setting is a neighborhood in New York City. Ann and Charlie are empty-nesters. Charlie is disillusioned with city life, but Nora is not ready to make the changes. An act of violence in their neighborhood draws lines in the sand and forces Nora to take a long hard look at herself and life. Sometimes it only takes a simple thing to cause us to reflect on life, where we are and who we have become; Ann is no exception to this.

I love Quindlen's writing style, and the way she personifies her characters...

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Nora and Charlie Nolan live on a dead-end street in Manhattan, where neighbors know each other well, for better or worse.  The Nolan's twins are now in college, and their empty nest has underscored this middle aged couple's differences, especially their commitment to living in New York, which Nora is passionate about while Charlie isn't.  Their careers -- Charlie as an investment banker and Nora as a museum administrator--highlight divergent directions, as do their relationships with their neighbors' foibles and dramas.  This is the story of a well-to-do Manhattan couple navigating middle age, mostly with grace.
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First I want to say I looked forward to reading this book by Anna Quindlen having read some of her other books which I loved. Having lived in NYC I got the premise of the book, although wondering how it could maintain the interest of a private parking car lot, while realizing the prize in obtaining one. Nora and Charlie were married and had identical twins Rachel and Oliver. Charlie has always had the dream of living down south, in a warmer climate, near beaches while Nora holds onto her desired love/hate relationship of living in NYC. Charlie is beyond happy when he finally buys a space in the parking lot. There are pages and pages of descriptions of many characters, neighbors, and too...

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I’ve found my enjoyment of Quindlen’s books to be spotty but I was captivated by this one from the start. The neighborhood setting was like a Petrie dish for a class study. I found the huge cast of characters hard to sort out and remember who did what so I finally jotted them down - very helpful.

Nora and Charlie live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in a brownstone on a dead end street where they had raised their college aged twins. Over the years, the isolation of the street creates a club of sorts between the neighbors. Everyone is a college-educated professional and they are united by their wealth but through Nora’s eyes we see their paths change as they lose their youthful...

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As a longtime fan of Quindlen's writing, fiction and non-fiction, I surprised myself after reading a few pages of Alernate Side and debating whether I wanted to continue it.
First of all, the main protagonists, Charlie and Nora, husband and wife, live a wealthy lifestyle in New York City. I'm a single retired woman who lives simply in the rural South. How could I relate to their circumstances? What do I know about HOA fees, neighborhood block parties, and employing a nanny/housekeeper?
Ms. Quindlen's genuine talent is finding commonalities that make readers care about her characters. In the beginning I felt that Nora wasn't interested in anyone's feelings...

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I wasn't sure what to expect from Alternate Sides. The last Anna Quindlen book I read was Every Last One. That was a superbly written book but it left me emotionally wrung out.
This book was definitely lighter. I kept waiting for the "thing" in the book to happen that the story would be about. Although there was an incident in her neighborhood that became a catalyst for the final unwinding of the main character's (Nora) marriage, it wasn't on the scale of what I had been waiting for. Everything is told from Nora's point of view so we only have her perception of her marriage, her relationship with her kids, & the relationships in her neighborhood. We sort...

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Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: March 2018

The 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 intention to style. Also, the plot is usually less obvious. I’m a big fan of literary fiction. In Quindlen’s novel, “Alternate Side” (referring to alternate side parking) you will find a good example of such a style.

She writes about the residents who live on a dead-end block...

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Too much philosophizing, not enough plot. Nora kinda' likes her husband, but kinda' doesn't. She kinda' likes living in New York City, but kinda' doesn't. It was a dull slog of a read and, in my opinion, not up to Anna Quindlen's normal standards. 

Received from Net-Galley.
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I started this book a few times but couldn't make progress or get interested. Sorry notmuch to add.
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Netgalley gave me the chance to preview this book before its published and for that I’m very grateful. I would call this genre, a slice of life. Nora and Charlie Nolan live in a small, close-knit neighborhood in New York. Not only do all the neighbors know each other’s business, but parking spaces are in short supply. I enjoy the rich language Quindlen employs in her storytelling. The beginning of Alternate Side put me off because all the characters, their children and dogs were introduced at once. I never did keep all of them straight because of that.

It was hard for me to identify with the issues in this book because I live where there’s plenty of parking and don’t know most of my...

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I started reading this title while on a flight and was almost sad when the plane landed!  Although I'm not finished (yet), I have thoroughly enjoyed the book thus far and plan to nominate it.  Another high quality, engrossing read by a wonderful, talented and proven author.
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Alternate Side is a character-driven slice-of-life story, the type at which Anna Quindlen excels. You get to know her people as though they were friends. As with most of us, their lives have moments of drama among mostly no-big-deal daily stuff, but because you know these people, you’re interested. If, perchance, you can identify with them and their problems, all the better.

Nora Nolan and her husband, Charlie, live in a closely knit New York City neighborhood of comfortably rich people with housekeepers and a shared handyman. They all know each other, socialize at catered neighborhood events, but are not quite friends. In other words, they don’t bare their hearts to one another. Still...

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Honestly, at first, I was not sure if I liked this book but as I kept reading and became more acquainted with the characters, I really enjoyed it. Set in a neighborhood of NYC, it is the story of life being fairly normal and comfortable until a tragic event occurs. Life changes drastically for most of the neighborhood. This book made me sad in some ways and it made me think. Life doesn’t stay the same even though we think it will.
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I am a long-time fan of Anna Quindlen's books. I have always enjoyed her style and her in-depth characterizations. 'Alternate Side' explores the lives of Nora & Charlie Nola, their NYC neighbors on the dead-end block and the everyday occurrences we all go through- in the city or suburbs- such as children moving out, neighbors, job issues and marital strain and stress. It was an interesting read on how people respond to issues differently and what it does to their happiness. While this is not one of my favorite of her books, it was very well written and I was intrigued by the descriptions of the city and relationships between the neighbors enough to read it through. Thank...

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I liked this book more after I finished it then while I was reading it. The writing is good but the story moved slow and at times seemed so trite. The ending pulled it all together and had me thinking about its message after finishing the book.

The story is set in Manhattan in a small upper class neighborhood. Nora and Charlie live with their grown children who are ready to head off to college. They are living the American dream with a nanny/housekeeper, careers, and no financial worries. They've drifted apart over the years which doesn't become apparent until a neighborhood incident has them taking opposite sides. For the first time in a long time, they see each other...

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An act of violence exposes the fragility of relationships in a close knit neighborhood in New York's upper west side. A great choice to stimulate discussion at your book club.
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I love Anna Quindlen and when I saw her new book on Netgalley I scooped it up. Alternate Side is all about a dead end street in New York City and the families that live there. Specifically Nora and Charlie and their fraternal twins, Rachel and Oliver. I guess I was so excited to read this that I didn’t look at the summary when I requested it because I was shocked at the turning point on the block. Something bad happens and the ripples from that event change Nora, her home, her family, her job and her marriage. Basically everything. Through all of this though Nora and Quindlen are writing a love letter to New York City. After the event, and even before, Charlie wants to leave the city. Nora...

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This was not my favorite title by Anna Quindlen but, no matter what, I always appreciate her style.  She writes real characters.  This is a story about a neighborhood in Manhattan that experiences an event that changes everything.  Worth a read, but not amazing.
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Nora 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 buildings' inhabitants. There's only 6 available parking spaces, and to score one of them is no mean feat. As the book begins, Charlie is elated that he has finally been offered this exclusive perk.

Nora simply is a New Yorker down to her bones. She...

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