Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Thing About Alice” as Want to Read:
The Thing About Alice
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Thing About Alice

by
4.15  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Alice Otto is unquestionably the matriarch on Elizabeth Street, where those with big dreams and dashed hopes end up. Every day is a battle against constant change, but not until now, recognizing in herself the symptoms her grandfather once faced, has Alice encountered a change she cannot combat.

For decades Alice Otto has known every squatter and dweller on Elizabeth Street
...more
ebook, 144 pages
Published May 21st 2020
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Thing About Alice, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Thing About Alice

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  87 ratings  ·  18 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Thing About Alice
Gerhard
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Whether or not the author intended it, Elizabeth Street shares a common heritage with Barbary Lane. Both are the kind of gentrified microcosms representative of a select interpretation of life in a particular fixed historic period that is deeply suspect in our highly fractured and over-politicised present.

There is an Elizabeth Street in Wonderboom in Pretoria, but I have no idea if this is mere coincidence. Us Johannesburgers remain deeply suspicious of Pretorians, and consider anything beyond t
...more
Vonda
May 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley
In less than 150 pages the writer tried cramming in way too many characters which made it hard to keep them straight, muchless get to know them. The book was too hard to wrap yourself up in.
Kasa Cotugno
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The depiction of a small enclave of friends, with the only constant being Alice who has lived there for years witnessing the turn around, the comings and going, but finding herself giving in to the effects of aging. Very difficult for a person who always had control. The characters are definite, beautifully realized, and sympathetic. Hard to believe this is a debut it is so well written.
ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook
This is a very dialogue driven book, and I liked that about it. Jean-Luke Swanepoel is a masterful storyteller and weaves a tapestry from the threads of his plot. The characters are well developed and realistic. Alice is a force to be reckoned with and all the secondary characters are important to the story and Alice's life. This was a very heavy and emotional read because of the issues it deals with but very beautifully written and enjoyable. ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it
via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/
𝑳𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒏, 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒎𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒏’𝒕 𝒈𝒐 𝒑𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒚 𝒑𝒊𝒄𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒐𝒐 𝒘𝒆𝒍𝒍, 𝒆𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓. 𝑵𝒐𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒘𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒌𝒍𝒆 𝒏𝒆𝒆𝒅𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒔𝒆𝒆𝒏.

The same could be said about our lives, not every wrinkle needs to be seen. Alice Otto is the keeper of Elizabeth Street in South Africa, collecting years and friends- the permanent fixtures, the strays, knowing everything about them, as much as someone in her advanced years can recall. In this novel, Bart (who had once lived on Elizabeth Street) has
...more
catherine ♡
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt
*Thank you to NetGalley for a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review.*

Actual Rating: 2.0

The Thing About Alice follows many different characters who live on Elizabeth Street through the eyes of Alice — there's Mitzi, Rita, Gerty, Michael, Steve — who are all at different stages in their lives.

The blurb calls this book a study in character, and that was honestly what this was, with a sprinkle of slice-of-life. I personally have no problem with that, but I just found that the book didn't go i
...more
Angela
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
"You know, I don't think two people are ever really equally in love. The one is always besotted, and the other merely lives off that love. That's love for you, I guess."

The Thing About Alice follows the lives of a number of characters who live on Elizabeth Street in Pretoria, South Africa. Contained within a very short 144 pages, the readers gets a glimpse into the lives of Steve, Michael, Simon, Mitzi, Sam, Heinrich, Opal, Rita, Nora, Morne, Gloria, Dot, Mia, Deidre, Gerty, Bob, Lila, Henry, Ve
...more
Doris Raines
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
NICE BOOK.
Sarah O'Riordan | travelseatsreads
In this book we see an in-depth character study of Alice and her struggles with the aging process. Throughout we are introduced to the residents of Elizabeth Street and also take a peek at their individual journeys.

An interesting read but honestly it left me feeling as confused as Alice herself. And maybe that was the whole point of the book.
Azia Reads
Mar 09, 2020 marked it as to-read
Omgggggg when I go to buy it and it isnt even released 🤦 lol .. I look forward to reading it and will definitely pre order when it's time !! ...more
Kristel (hungryandhappy)
*Netgalley arc*

I don't think I understood what the book wanted to tell me. The writing was a bit hard to follow but I synchronised with it. Then the time jumps started and I got confused. I didn't understand what was going on, who was who. And the last chapter is where the book lost me.

The story follows Alice, an old woman living with her husband, who knows everything about everyone and feels abandoned when her friends and neighbours start moving on and away. Each chapter focuses on a character
...more
Amanda Adams
Jun 17, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and was excited to start reading it. However, I found myself more than halfway through the relatively short book and was still not very interested or invested in the characters or plot. I think they were trying to paint a picture of a community over time and the relationships within it but honestly it was too short for real character development and I struggled to keep a continuous beat on what was going on throughout the book and how the different charact ...more
Fiona
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to reading this but was rather disappointed. I really struggled to get into the book, and into the characters. Despite it being a short read, there were a lot of characters, and the story felt very slow in the first half especially. The story didn't explore the characters deeply enough, I didn’t finish it feeling like I knew enough about the people, I wonder if this could have been rectified by writing a longer novel. It was confusing and difficult to follow – especi ...more
Louise
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it
There was something about the opening pages that reminded me of Tales of the city.
Here too there is a gentle warmth,and mild humour.
However,I never really felt I got to know these characters properly,they were in and out of lives/houses So fast,without too much depth to the characters,that it all felt that it was just surface level stuff.
A quick easy read,but I don't think it will be a memorable one.
...more
Hannah Harvey
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was a super quick read and for me that's kind of the issue I had with it.
As a book slated as a 'study in character', I really didn't feel like we got to know any of the characters that well.
I was left wanting more depth and connection to this group of characters, and that was disappointing.
...more
Julia
May 04, 2020 added it
yeah not bad
Richard Reyes
Apr 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The writer is so talented. You can publish you work on NovelStar App and earn big time.
Ellen Whittet
rated it it was amazing
Apr 07, 2020
Julia
rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2021
Mocrmi
rated it it was amazing
Apr 12, 2021
Emilia Meyer
rated it liked it
Aug 23, 2020
Elyse
rated it it was ok
Sep 10, 2020
Isabela
rated it it was amazing
Feb 07, 2020
Orflan
rated it it was amazing
Apr 12, 2021
arwa
rated it liked it
Sep 14, 2020
Tracie Belt
rated it really liked it
Sep 10, 2020
Maflca
rated it it was amazing
Apr 12, 2021
Kelly Schimmoller
rated it it was amazing
Sep 02, 2020
B.J.
rated it it was amazing
Apr 21, 2021
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Good Neighborhood
  • When I Was You
  • New Kid (New Kid, #1)
  • You Are Not Alone
  • A Rose for Emily and Other Stories
  • The Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Children, and Struggling with Depression
  • Gatsby's Smile
  • By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead
  • The Double Bind
  • Turn of Mind
  • More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction
  • Hold Still
  • After Birth
  • Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice
  • Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose and Diary Excerpts
  • Mad, Bad, and Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors
  • The Night Watchman
  • Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners
See similar books…
295 followers
Jean-Luke Swanepoel works as a bookseller, and lives in California with his partner. He was born in Pretoria, South Africa, and The Thing About Alice is his debut novel.

Related Articles

  Author Casey McQuiston took the romance world by storm with her 2019 debut, Red, White & Royal Blue. A double Goodreads Choice Award winner...
322 likes · 44 comments
“He had a tongue like a razor, let us start with that. Now when you take that, and add to it eyes like a hawk, and ears like a bat, you’ve got yourself a second-to-none biographer. But add to all of that an imagination—trouble is what you’ve got then.” 2 likes
“Old Bette Davis movies are all she watches now. There’s one where Bette Davis’s character goes blind, and as the credits rolled my mother said, ‘Must be what they mean when they talk about Bette Davis eyes.” 1 likes
More quotes…