The Other Side of You and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy Used
Used - Good See details
Price: 2.41

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading The Other Side of You on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Other Side of You [Hardcover]

Salley Vickers
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 4.05  
Hardcover --  
Hardcover, 3 April 2006 --  
Paperback 6.29  
Audio, CD --  

Book Description

3 April 2006

The brilliant new novel from the bestselling author of ‘Mr Golightly’s Holiday’ and ‘Miss Garnet’s Angel’.

‘There is no cure for being alive.’ Thus speaks Dr David McBride, a psychiatrist for whom death exerts an unusual draw. As a young child he witnessed the death of his six-year-old brother and it is this traumatic event which has shaped his own personality and choice of profession. One day a failed suicide, Elizabeth Cruikshank, is admitted to his hospital. She is unusually reticent and it is not until he recalls a painting by Caravaggio that she finally yields up her story.

We learn of Elizabeth Cruikshank’s dereliction of trust, and the man she has lost, through David's narration. As her story unfolds David finds his own life being touched by her account and a haunting sense that the ‘other side’ of his elusive patient has a strange resonance for him, too.

Set partly in Rome, ‘The Other Side of You’ explores the theme of redemption through love and art, which has become a hallmark of Salley Vickers’s acclaimed work. As with her other highly popular novels this is a many-layered and subtly audacious story, which traces the boundaries of life and death and the difficult possibilities of repentance.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1st edition (3 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007165447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007165445
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 14.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 682,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Salley Vickers' subtle, witty style and clear-eyed observation of human nature has been compared to Penelope Fitzgerald and Barbara Pym. She has worked as a university teacher of literature, specialising in Shakespeare, and in adult education, where she specialised in the literature of the ancient world. She is a trained analytical psychologist and lectures widely on the connections between literature, psychology and religion. She divides her time between London, Venice and the West Country.

Product Description


‘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 quietly compelling quality.’ Peter Stanford, Independent

‘Kindred spirits and soul-mates are at the heart of Salley Vickers’ new novel set in a South Coast psychiatric institution and in Rome…This is a fine and multi-layered novel which suggests that suffering is necessary and that opportunities for happiness should be taken whenever offered.’ Daily Mail

‘Compelling.’ Alex Clark, Observer

‘Ferociously readable.’ Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph

‘Love and pain, death and life, self-knowledge and insensibility – all these big, vital themes converge in this moving, utterly engrossing novel.’ Guardian

‘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, Telegraph

From the Author


1.What was your inspiration for The Other Side of You?

All four of the novels I’ve written grew out of subjects I’ve been mulling over for a long time. In this book, undoubtedly the situation, a psychiatrist and his patient, was born out of the years I spent working as a psychoanalyst. I always felt that between these two people trying to reach the truth about something there hovered a third entity, an unrealised invisible presence which, if things went well, ultimately resolved into a new truth. But also, psychoanalysis/therapy is about people telling their story. The analyst/therapist listens to the story and tries to make sense of it and this is not unlike writing a novel. You listen for the story and try to make sense of it. Very often, as in therapy, with writing a novel you don’t understand the meaning of the story till you reach the end.

2.In what way do you hope The Other Side of You might resonate with your readers?

It’s a book about the problem of love, principally the problem of believing that we are worthy of love and that is something most of us have trouble with. Elizabeth, the female character, for most understandable reasons, has faltered over choosing a life where she will be loved. Not recognising our meaning for another person, or their’s to us, is a common human theme. As David says, we live life forwards but we only comprehend its meaning for us backwards, so we tend to act before we understand.

3. Your novels have a strong artistic element and in this one Caravaggio is central. Can you explain why?

I naturally think in images so paintings are almost as rich a source of ideas for me as the written word. And a great painting will very often capture the essence of a great story. Caravaggio is a painter I came to late. In fact, rather as I was suspicious of Venice before I fell in love with it, I was unsure about Caravaggio before I began to write this book. Then one day I went to look again at the painting in the London National Gallery, The Supper at Emmaus, and I suddenly saw that it was answering a question in the book.

4. Why is Rome important in this novel?

Rome is the city with which Caravaggio himself most identified. He was desperately trying to make has way back to Rome when he died. And his greatest works are to be found there. But it is also a city where life and death rub shoulders. Thomas says you feel the presence of the dead there more than any other city in the world and that’s a feeling I share. The book explores the relationship between the living and the dead, the way the dead live on within us, through memory, but also through the power of art and story.

5. What are your thoughts about the recent discovery of the Caravaggio paintings found in Loches, France?

You could have knocked me down with a feather! I learned of them two days after the book went to print and the novel ends with discovery of a Caravaggio with the same title as one of the two discovered: ‘The Journey to Emmaus’. What is odder still, is that Thomas traces this painting through a collection in France. It was almost as if the novel knew something I didn’t know as I was writing it.

6. Where does your love of art come from?

I can’t answer that, any more than I can say where my love of reading comes from. It has always been a given and one I’ve been grateful for. When I write a book I can see the jacket and it’s always a painting.

7. Do you believe that art is fundamentally honest, that as Thomas says it is ‘without precepts and morals and shams’

All art should aspire to be honest and great art manages it. The greater the artist the less they will make things up, which sounds a bit of paradox since in a sense ‘making things up’ is an artist’s job. But the ‘making up’ should be without pretence and in some way reflect or recreate the real.

8. What made you decide to have a male narrator?

Originally I was going to write the book in two voices, David’s and Elizabeth’s. But I got captivated by David’s voice and in the end that was how the novel wanted to be written. The female voice didn’t convince. But the novel is called The Other Side of You so possibly I wrote the narrator with my other, ‘male’, side. And I enjoyed doing it.

9. Your characters have an interesting way of reacting. David is the doctor and Elizabeth the patient and yet in the end she appears to have more effect on him than the other way round.

I’m not sure that’s true. The response between David and Elizabeth is mutual, and that is really the point. It is only because she makes such a dent in his repressed feelings that he can help her, because she feels a correspondence with his inadequacies. But the dent also helps him because it makes him face things he has ‘lived apart from’ to use his own phrase. I say somewhere in the book that emotion is catching, good or bad. And it is the case that we catch feeling from each other as easily as diseases, but luckily sometimes the feelings are more productive than diseases and can lead to new life.

10 What are your feelings having written the book?

The period after finishing a novel is a mournful one. You miss the world you’ve created like hell, and all the characters, with whom you’ve been living intimately for years. Seeing them go off into the world is like seeing your children go off to school. The only cure is to get down to the next one quick.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully told and impressively wise 27 Mar 2006
By P.J.D.
This is a beautfully told story. It is a compelling read, perfectly paced and wise while appearing entirely natural.
Essentially, this is a love story but told through the veil of a psychiatrist's case study. I found the narrator, Dr MacBride, a sympathetic voice and his patient, Elizabeth, a haunting character who begins quite palely and then grows in significance both for the narrator and for us.
I also loved the scenes in Rome, which I know well, and are done very authentically, and aptly, and the descriptions of Caravaggio's paintings are masterly. Salley Vickers is an erudite author who wears her erudtion very lightly. Yet you feel there is real authority here. She isn't like any other living writer I know. The novel had shades of Graham Greene's 'The End of the Affair', though it is much freer and the end is more human and more satisfying.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressively sage 20 April 2006
This is a very fine novel about human frailty. As I read it I felt understood, and it also made me question my own life and the decisions I have made. This author has a knack of opening doors in the mind which have been kept shut, or locked, a rare quality. I don't cry easily but I wept several times reading this. It was recommended to me by a high court judge, who is also not given to tears. It is however a discreet book, not at all sentimental and the writing is beautifully cool and precise.
Was this review helpful to you?
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb writing 29 Mar 2006
I have read all Salley Vickers' novels, and liked them all, especially Miss Garnet. But this is easily the best. I began it at 9 o clock last night and read until I had finished it at 4 am. Seven hours, the length of the conversation David, the narrator, has with Elizabeth, his patient. It is a profoundly moving novel, full of insight and shrewd observation. And wonderfully written. An absolute winner. It will outsell even Miss Garnet.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegaic 1 April 2006
I have read all Salley Vickers's novels but this is easily the best. It has a command and authority which takes you at once into the story so that you want to read on. The cast of characters is broad, a black schizophrenic cleaner, a bewildered Pakistani Muslim, a man who believes he has a wolf trapped in his skull (my favourite) but the characters who really engross us are Dr David Macbride and his patient Elizabeth. The latter has attempted suicide, which is why she is under this psychiatrist's care but what is most compelling about her story is the way it shadows her doctor's, so that in the end the two stories become intertwined and the two characters are linked by their tragedies. I loved the desciptions of Rome and Caravaggio. There is a very subtle ending. A very rich book and it is also beatifully written.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional 20 Mar 2006
By M. M.
I was lucky enough to her this author last weekend which inspired me to read this book. Salley Vickers is new to me, but I shall now read all her books. She combines an effortlessly elegant style, which makes her very easy to read, with an unusual understanding of the human mind and heart. The book is written in the persona of a male narrator, a psychiatrist. I am also a doctor, and a man, and I was interested to note how quickly I fell under his spell. He describes a case of a suicide who comes into his care but the story is a story within a story, one that reveals his own infirmities. The book is very well structured without ever seeming to be so. It is also often funny, sagacious and convincing. The end is profundly moving. I loved it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical, truthful and moving 23 April 2006
This entrancing novel held me captivate on a seven hour flight, the same lenght of time as the central dialogue of the narrative between the two protagonists, Dr David McBride and his patient ,Elizabeth. I was utterly gripped by Salley Vickers' capacity to enter the heart and mind of a suicidal patient (an area in which I have professional expertise) and the subtle and convincing way she has that tragedy reflected in the history of David.

She also writes very expressively about place. Rome and Caravaggio are evoked with an authenticity which is one of the joys of reading this very original novelist. And I shan't forget 'It is a hallmark of the damaged that when it comes to their own desire, instinctivey, ruinously, they tend to court its opposite'. This is so true - but I have never seen it expressed so delicately, yet with such penetrating understanding.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully affecting 21 April 2006
I bought this as a present for a Salley Vickers fan but began to read it and was hooked, so I've kept ot for myself because on almost every page there is some thought-provoking comment or aside which made me want to read the book again. I ended up with it full of bits of paper marking important passages.

It is a quiet book at first, but like the principal female character, Elizabeth Crookshank, the surface quietness hides a passionate core which, once you reach it, is powerfully affecting. I was disturbed by the story and its sense of sadness, but in a creative way. A wise and haunting book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and beautifully moving 21 Jan 2007
By LindyB
My 5 star review implies the amazing impact that Salley Vickers' book has had on me. It is truly beautiful, speaking profoundly about what it means to love and what it means to live. The quotation from Gus ('the question is not to cure or to be cured but how to live') occurs fairly early on in the narrative but, like much else in this intricately constructed work, its meaning is enhanced as it echoes through the latter stages of the novel.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Pamela Steel
5.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent read.
Well written and thought provoking. An intelligent read.
Published 1 month ago by MM
3.0 out of 5 stars Not very satisfactory.
I did find this book rather miserable and it had a very unsatisfactory ending. Not a book to read if you are feeling down already.
Published 2 months ago by Jackie S.
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
After reading "The Cleaner of Chartres" I thought I would be in for a treat with this. Not so, unfortunately. Read more
Published 3 months ago by David Heald
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a let down, 3point5...
I adored the first few chapters and really thought I was in for an excellent read. I was therefore all the more disappointed when the rest of the book turned out to be extremely... Read more
Published 3 months ago by H. Lacroix
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read but slow start
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The author sensitively describes the psychiatric 'journey' of Elizabeth Cruikshank and the way her story helped her psychiatrist come to terms with... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Michaela Baker
One of the best novels I have ever read, and much more positive than McGrath's "aSYLUM", BUT WITH A SIMILAR UNDERLYING FEELING OF SADNESS AND loss. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ms. J. C. Gilbert
4.0 out of 5 stars Great plot-really enjoyed it
Definitely recommend this novel. Smart intelligent read by Ms Vickers. I'm not sure many authors could handle a plot so exquisitely told. Read more
Published 7 months ago by S Winspur
5.0 out of 5 stars What a treat !
Read this book with my bookclub. The book drew me in from the start, very thoughtful, deliberate writing with many dimensions. Read more
Published 9 months ago by A. H. Calkoen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
well rounded characters. It kept me interested throughout and not wanting to put the book down. does not disappoint throughout
Published 10 months ago by daphne statham
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category