Either Side of Winter

published as fathers and daughters in the us

A book in which everyone gets happier in the course of the changing seasons of a single year.

In prose that shimmers with emotional insight and precise observation, Benjamin Markovits unlocks the souls of three teachers and a student at a wealthy private school in Riverdale, New York. For all of them, fathers and fatherhood exert a gravitational pull. Biology teacher Amy Bostick has always adored her all- American dad, but now she pulls away as she falls in love with a rich alum. Another biology teacher, Howard Peasbody, finds fatherhood thrust upon him when he discovers that a fling seventeen years before has produced a daughter, Francesca, the best friend of one of his students. English teacher Stuart Englander yearns powerfully for the children his marriage won't deliver him, leading him into awkward intimacy with his student Rachel Kranz, who, independent of her teachers' dramas, is moving closer to her own father as he dies. Shockingly beautiful and melancholy by turns, this novel is a triumph—full of satisfactions of the kind that only great literary fiction can provide.

buy The book:

Either Side of Winter - Faber & Faber (UK)  Fathers and Daughters - W. W. Norton (US)

Praise for Either Side of winter/Fathers and Daughters:

“It is as if the young writer were laying out before us an artistic journey that begins in cleverness - alluring in spots but elsewhere bumpy and raw - and ends in stirring mastery. . . . In many ways, Rachel is ordinary. But then so was Madame Bovary. Mr. Markovits's writing makes the ordinary unforgettable.”

Richard Eder, The New York Times


“This book suggests a real depth of reading, and emotional sentience, in its author. It is wholly American in tone, but hardly in its worldly scope. There is a flavour of Thurber's lonelier stories, perhaps an affinity with the beautiful short novels of WM Spackman, shades of William Gaddis. But it is written in an original, pliant, elegant prose that one immediately trusts. Markovits writes wonderful dialogue - and just the right amount of it. . . . It is difficult to overstress the depth and intelligence, the achievement, of this book. Every decision Markovits makes - and he sets himself difficult ones - shows great command of the fictional art, deep personal feeling and consideration. It is very human, astonishing, superb; and what is more important, sublime. To borrow, sheepishly, a line of Markovits's own: 'These were tender relations. Unequalled.'"

Todd McEwen, The Observer