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Friends and Strangers

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529349450

Price: £8.99

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‘I LOVED IT’ Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion
‘HER BEST YET’ Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Daisy Jones & The Six
‘CAPTIVATING, WISE AND LAUGH-OUT-LOUD FUNNY’ Ann Napolitano, author of Dear Edward

Elisabeth, an accomplished journalist and new mother, is struggling to adjust to life in a small town after nearly twenty years in New York City. Alone in the house with her infant son all day (and awake with him much of the night), she feels uneasy, adrift. She neglects her work, losing untold hours to her Brooklyn moms’ Facebook group, her “influencer” sister’s Instagram feed, and text messages with the best friend she never sees anymore.

Enter Sam, a senior at the local women’s college, whom Elisabeth hires to babysit. Sam is struggling to decide between the path she’s always planned on and a romantic entanglement that threatens her ambition. She’s worried about student loan debt and what the future holds. In short, they grow close. But when Sam finds an unlikely kindred spirit in Elisabeth’s father-in-law, the true differences between the women’s lives become starkly revealed and a betrayal has devastating consequences.

A masterful exploration of motherhood, power dynamics, and privilege in its many forms, Friends and Strangers reveals how a single year can shape the course of a life.


This book pokes at the sometimes troubling relationship between caregivers and mothers, and what starts out as a sweet and straightforward story evolves into something more nuanced and complex
Sullivan . . . writes with empathy for her characters even as she reveals their flaws and shortcomings. And while the story she tells focuses primarily on two women from different backgrounds and at different stages of life, it also illuminates broader issues about money, privilege, and class; marriage, family, and friendship; and the duelling demands of career and domesticity with which many women struggle. This perceptive novel about a complex friendship between two women resonates as broadly as it does deeply
Sullivan's intimate, incisive latest explores the evolving friendship between a new mother and her babysitter . . . Readers will be captivated by Sullivan's authentic portrait of modern motherhood
Publishers Weekly
Friends and Strangers is a smart and deeply compelling exploration of female friendship and the complicated politics of motherhood and childcare. J. Courtney Sullivan is a shrewd and sympathetic observer of our current cultural moment, with an unerring eye for the way that the unspoken realities of money and class can affect even our most intimate relationships
Tom Perrotta, best-selling author of THE LEFTOVERS
J. Courtney Sullivan is a writer of extraordinary gifts, and this is her most affecting book yet, which I just wanted to keep reading and reading straight through to its climactic and emotional last pages, because its world felt completely realized, and completely real. Sullivan is a writer who offers up small human moments and large social ones, all within the frame of a truly good story. I loved it
Meg Wolitzer, best-selling author of THE FEMALE PERSUASION
I have long been a fan of J. Courtney Sullivan's insightful and rich novels-Friends and Strangers is her best yet! Sullivan has a stunning ability to capture the tenderness and frailty of human relationships. Her newest is a poignant, wise, big-hearted novel full of complicated women doing their best and striving to do better.
Taylor Jenkins Reid, best-selling author of DAISY JONES & THE SIX
J. Courtney Sullivan is one of our great literary treasures, and Friends and Strangers is permeated with her brilliance and heart. The novel is a captivating, wise, laugh-out-loud-funny story about the life-changing friendship between Elisabeth, a new mom, and Sam, her college-age babysitter. I loved this novel from the first word to the last.
Ann Napolitano, best-selling author of DEAR EDWARD
Tackles motherhood, friendship, family and betrayal
Good Morning America
This new novel from the author of Saints for All Occasions looks at how our locations, both geographic and where we are in life, can take their toll, and delivers what promises to be one of summer's most delicious reads
Town & Country
Friends and Strangers is about whether the unfairness of privilege can ever be sufficiently offset by good deeds. And what of bad deeds: are they forgiven if they result from good intentions? Sullivan massages her themes in scenes as barbed as they are funny, by way of characters as infuriating as they are heartbreaking
Shelf Awareness
Friends and Strangers offers an insightful examination of everything from social media's magnetic pull to the power dynamics between domestic workers and their employers
Washington Post
Friends and Strangers is a big novel with big ideas... An honest rendering of what happens behind closed doors.
New York Times Book Review
There's a rare degree of emotional maturity in Friends and Strangers, a willingness to resist demonizing any of the players, a commitment to exploring the demands of family with the deliberate care such complex relations require. Once again, Sullivan has shown herself to be one of the wisest and least pretentious chroniclers of modern life. Every hard-won insight here is offered up with such casual grace.
Washington Post
Friends and Strangers is a compellingly readable book that feels a little bit like a beach read, but at the same time tackles themes of acceptance of others and also of yourself... The novel takes on modern issues surrounding adulthood, motherhood and class. It also offers a broader look at issues we are facing as an American society... as hilarious as it is insightful and paints an authentic picture of modern motherhood and the power of female friendship.
A deeply personal yet profound exploration of motherhood, friendships, and the role of privilege in determining how we shape our lives.