Friday, March 23
Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh
7 p.m., signing line with book purchase

In the nineties, Anna Quindlen won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her column in The New York Times, so it’s no surprise that, in her many novels, she’s no fantasist, but rather taps into current events and the temper of the times. In her latest, Alternate Side, a parking-rage incident throws a tony, tight-knit Manhattan community into crisis and division, the two defining states of our American times. The narrative centers on a working mother who gets tangled up in her own good intentions. In its generally favorable review, USA Today missed Quindlen’s “trademark warmth in depicting family life,” which is secondary to sharp commentary about social privilege—but who’s feeling very warm these days? “Well-meaning people of the world who enlist others to clean their homes and nanny their children, prepare to be made uncomfortable by Quindlen’s astute observations about interactions between the haves and have-nots, and the realities of life among the long-married,” the review went on. Sounds right to us. Quindlen visits Raleigh this week for a reading and signing. —Brian Howe