Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Other Side of You

The Other Side of You

A Novel

Salley Vickers

Farrar, Straus and Giroux




For psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. David McBride, death exerts an unusual draw. Despite his profession, he has never come to terms with the violent accident that took his brother's life, a trauma that has shaped his personality and subsequent choice of career. But when a failed suicide, Elizabeth Cruikshank, comes into his care, he finds the deepest reaches of his suppressed history being reactivated. Elizabeth is mysteriously reticent about her own past and it is not until David recalls a painting by the Italian artist Caravaggio that she finally yields her story. As she recounts the chance encounter which took her to Rome, and her tragic tale of passion and betrayal, David begins to find a strange and disturbing reflection of his own loss in the haunted "other side" of this elusive woman. Through one long night's dialogue they journey together into a past which brings painful new insight and uncertain resolution to each of them.

The Other Side of You is a powerful meditation on art, and on love in all its manifestations. In distinctive, graceful prose, Salley Vickers explores the ways both love and art can penetrate the complexities of the human heart, to invade and change our being, and the possibilities of regeneration through another's vision and understanding.



When I count, there are only you and I together
She was a slight woman, pale, with two wings of dark hair which framed her face and gave it the faintly bird-like...


Praise for The Other Side of You

“Love and pain, death and life, self knowledge and insensibility – all these big, vital themes converge in this moving, utterly engrossing novel.” —The Guardian

“The writing is so good and the structure so skilful that Vickers manages to make delicate and difficult notions vivid. Her territory is the faultline along which memories of loss are experienced by an individual both as integral to their identity and as constraints on their engagement with the present. This may be true of a great deal of fiction, but it is rare for a novel to present it so directly and with such success.” —John de Falbe, Spectator

“Vickers' astute descriptions of jealousy, passion and grief shift seamlessly from one character to another in the present without faltering … In her experienced hands the characters are complex without being contrived. Vickers has turned a thwarted romance in to a serious page-turner.” —Time Out

“There is something rare and special about Vickers as a novelist. In exploring the connections between faith and imagination, art and redemption, religion and science in an intelligent, unusual but very readable way, she manages to touch something buried deep in all of us. It gives her work a compelling quality.” —Peter Stanford, Independent

“The lives of the characters in this gently absorbing novel continue to resonate with the failures, possibilities, regrets and redemptions – consoled and mirrored by art – that we all endure.” —Carol Ann Duffy, Daily Telegraph

“The evocation of place, and the pervading sense of sadness, are skilfully created, and the flawed humanity and depth of feeling of the characters are compelling.” —TLS

“A love story that is at once gentle and passionate, reckless and timid, optimistic and doomed. The appeal of the book lies in the tender, intimate quality of the prose.” —Financial Times

“A bittersweet tale of love, loss, sacrifice and regret. With experience of working as a psychoanalyst, Vickers elegantly weaves her knowledge into an insightful examination of the human condition. Her prose flows effortlessly … a thoroughly engrossing novel.” —Scotland on Sunday

“Vickers writes elegantly but romantically about the process of analysis … a good story, neatly and absorbingly told.” —Sunday Times

“With imagination, sensitivity and skill, Salley Vickers gives us valuable psychological and spiritual insights about grief, regret, and reconciliation.” —Karen Armstrong

“Salley Vickers takes the most interesting part of the analytical process--when something unknown becomes known, moves out of shadow into light, which is tremendously moving to read about . . . This is a subtle and thoughtful novel and in the resolution there is anguish as well as calm.” —Sebastian Faulks

“The perceptions and insights are remarkable. I don't think I have seen a comparable opening of the full truth of a heart and soul and mind and love.” —Russell Hoban

“Salley Vickers has managed the impossible in feeling her way into someone feeling his way into the mind of a troubled person. This is a powerful, sad, unforgettable tale. I found it profoundly moving.” —Julia Neuberger

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Salley Vickers

A former psychologist and professor of English, Salley Vickers is the author of Miss Garnet's Angel, Instances of the Number 3 (FSG, 2002), and Mr. Golightly's Holiday (FSG, 2004). She lives in London.

Salley Vickers

Ian O'Leary

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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