Pete and Alice in Maine: A Novel (Hardcover)

Pete and Alice in Maine: A Novel By Caitlin Shetterly Cover Image

Pete and Alice in Maine: A Novel (Hardcover)


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“Gripping.”—Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls

Shetterly’s debut achieves a subtle grace, a quality of light and shadow worthy of a Bergman film.”—Allegra Goodman, New York Times Book Review

"Pete and Alice in Maine is a tender, big-hearted, clear-eyed portrait of a marriage, and a family, in crisis—set during the plague years when the entire world was in crisis. As she investigates the insidious effect of lies, betrayal, fear, and anger, not to mention the mundane joys and wrenching heartaches of everyday life, Caitlin Shetterly gets to the heart of what it means to be a family.” — Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of The Exiles

A powerful and beautifully written debut novel that intimately explores a fractured marriage and the struggles of modern parenthood, set against the backdrop of the chaotic spring of 2020.

Reeling from a painful betrayal in her marriage as the Covid pandemic takes hold in New York City, Alice packs up her family and flees to their vacation home in Maine. She hopes to find sanctuary—from the uncertainties of the exploding pandemic and her faltering marriage.

Putting distance between herself and the stresses and troubles of the city, Alice begins to feel safe and relieved. But the locals are far from friendly. Trapped and forced into quarantine by hostile neighbors, Alice sees the imprisoning structure of her life in this new predicament. Stripped down to the bare essentials of survival and tending to the needs of her two children, she can no longer ignore all the ways in which she feels limited and lost—lost in the big city, lost as a wife, lost as a mother, lost as a daughter and lost as a person.

As the world shifts around her and the balance in her marriage tilts, Alice and her husband, Pete, are left to consider if what keeps their family safe is the same thing as what keeps their family together.

Caitlin Shetterly is the author of Modified and Made for You and Me, and the editor of the bestselling Fault Lines: Stories of Divorce. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Orion, Elle, Self, and on, as well as on This American Life and various other public radio shows. She is the editor-in-chief of Frenchly, a French arts and culture online news magazine. A Maine native, she graduated with honors from Brown University and now lives with her two sons and husband in her home state. Pete and Alice in Maine is her first novel.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063242661
ISBN-10: 0063242664
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: July 4th, 2023
Pages: 256
Language: English

"Pete and Alice in Maine is a tender, big-hearted, clear-eyed portrait of a marriage, and a family, in crisis—set during the plague years when the entire world was in crisis. As she investigates the insidious effect of lies, betrayal, fear, and anger, not to mention the mundane joys and wrenching heartaches of everyday life, Caitlin Shetterly gets to the heart of what it means to be a family.” — Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of The Exiles

“A vividly realistic portrait of day-to-day life during lockdown, of the ways the pandemic both cleaved families together and wrenched them apart. Laced with wry humor, Pete and Alice in Maine is that rare thing: a deeply intelligent page-turner.” — Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year

"When we first meet the title characters of Caitlin Shetterly’s gripping novel Pete and Alice in Maine, they’re fleeing pandemic ravaged New York with their children for the relative safety of their second home. How satisfying it would be in this age of easy social media judgment to despise them for their privilege. The only thing preventing it, really, is that this very fine novel—like all good novels—insists upon getting to know them. I loved it."  — Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

"Rarely is a fictional voice so intimate, honest, and revealing. Alice's carefully created family life is interrupted and her consequent fears are described with deep intelligence in exquisite sentences. I loved this book!" — Alice Elliott Dark, author of Fellowship Point and In the Gloaming

"This novel has its thumb on the pulse of our times, the pandemic and all its costs and upheavals, our political and social fault lines, climate change as we try to raise children into a new world. Yet it is, at heart, a familiar and intimate story of a marriage and a family struggling within its own universe of hurt and betrayal. Shetterly refuses to offer easy answers in this powerful, beautifully written novel." — Meredith Hall, author of Beneficence and Without a Map

"In this taut, riveting novel, Shetterly has created a lush, raw world: a passionate and damaged marriage; a family coming apart and knitting back together during a pandemic; a starkly unwelcoming place that becomes home. In all its multi-layered emotional facets, this book cuts deep, moving and true to the end." — Kate Christensen, author of The Last Cruise

“Caitlin Shetterly's fantastic new novel contains such resonant, crucial clues about what a woman gives up for her marriage and how she gets lost. It’s also a novel about what forgiveness can look like and a certain kind of finding of oneself.” — Susan Conley, author of Landslide  

“This is the novel I’ve been waiting to read. Caitlin Shetterly’s brilliant take on what happens when the worst happens to a couple days before the pandemic locks them together is simply fabulous. Funny and fierce, compassionate and uncompromising—I could continue pairing complimentary adjectives forever—best just to buy it and clear a weekend. You won’t want to put it down.” — Karen Karbo, author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel

"What literature is going to come out of the present moment? How do things look from where we are right now? Caitlin Shetterly's Pete and Alice in Maine is one answer. A comfortable New Yorker and her family escape the city during the pandemic, but all is not well. Voice-driven, relatable, and very contemporary, this novel is a beautifully-written depiction of the inner lives of a small family and the land to which they briefly escape." — Debra Spark, author of And Then Something Happened and Unknown Caller

“This beautifully crafted portrait of a marriage, with its backdrop of exquisite nature and troubling winds, kids balanced like boulders about to roll, is as harrowing as any thriller, and tender, too, even sweet, a couple of big-city hearts bound together despite all. And it's a lot, this country life, these old wounds, this new one, the distance between worlds, this fateful question: who are we when we're not who we were? Bring a flashlight, because Pete and Alice in Maine will keep you up asking all night.” — Bill Roorbach, author of  Life Among Giants

“[A] perceptive debut novel…. the psychological acuity applied to the family drama is undeniable.” — Publishers Weekly

Pete and Alice in Maine is a splendid debut. . . . Shetterly’s narrative is peppered with diverse cultural references. . . . Shetterly hits at the heart of [the pandemic years] in her very lively narrative.” — The Working Waterfront

“Maine resident Shetterly has written a masterly debut novel about the first year of the plague and its corrosive effects on one family in the United States struggling to survive intact. Readers will be hard-pressed to leave this story behind.” — Library Journal

"Thought-provoking and raw, this pandemic reflection is about so much more than lockdown—it's about our roles in society and how to come into our own as mothers and women." — Zibby Owens, Good Morning America

“Told in intimate, unsparing, often funny and always exacting detail. . . . Pete and Alice in Maine delves thrillingly into a topic that has always been at the core of Shetterly’s work: the complex dynamics of marriage, in deed and in words both said and unsaid.” — Bangor Daily News

“Shetterly writes . . . with wry humor and compassion. . . . Shetterly’s debut achieves a subtle grace.” — Allegra Goodman, The New York Times Book Review

“It's impossible not to think of [Lucy by the Sea] when you begin Pete and Alice…Shetterly's assured writing and flawed, sometimes maddening characters….is wise about humans' ambivalent feelings and often wryly funny (again, like Strout)….with daughters who bring wicked humor and fresh perspectives to the proceedings….relatable and entertaining, as is Shetterly's ability to zero in on how many of us were feeling in the summer of 2020…” — The Star Tribune

“The family’s year of living dangerously unfolds slowly, yet compellingly…. What we see from the distance of the novel and its fundamentally earnest protagonists is that despite the boredom, fear, loneliness and despair the pandemic wrought, it also brought the potential to become the only thing we have to look forward to: the better, happier humans we aspire to be…. I loved reading this book, which I gulped down in two otherwise busy days.”
Los Angeles Times

“With her first novel, Caitlin Shetterly finds the humor in her transplanted New Yorkers' disorientation and gracefully weaves such moments into another classic story line: a marriage is in trouble.” — Shelf Awareness, Best Books This Week

“Shetterly…gives voice to the fearful, isolated beginnings of COVID-19….With the tone and tenor of Matthew Norman's Last Couple Standing (2020), Sarah Pekkanen's The Ever After (2018), and Greg Olear's Fathermucker (2011), the story taps on every fault line within one family, as a whole world grapples with its own fragility. Heartwarming and heartwrenching in equal turns, Shetterly's foray into fiction is unforgettable.”   — Booklist (starred review)

"This debut reads like a sharp report from the near past." — Brown Alumni