Synopses & Reviews
Included on The Christian Science Monitor'
s list of 2013's top 15 works of fiction.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club introduces a middle-class American family, ordinary in every way but one...
Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she explains. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren't thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern's expulsion
she was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half and I loved her as a sister.” As a child, Rosemary never stopped talking. Then, something happened, and Rosemary wrapped herself in silence.
In We Are All Completely beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler weaves her most accomplished work to date a tale of loving but fallible people whose well-intentioned actions lead to heartbreaking consequences.
“A novel so readably juicy and surreptitiously smart, it deserves all the attention it can get....[Its] fresh diction and madcap plot bend the tone toward comedy, but it never mislays its solemn raison dêtre. Monkeyshines aside, this is a story of Everyfamily in which loss engraves relationships, truth is a soulful stalker and coming-of-age means facing down the mirror, recognizing the shape-shifting notion of self.” Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review
“Fowler's interests here are in what sets humans apart from their fellow primates. Cognitive, language and memory skills all come into playful question. But the heart of the novel — and it has a big, warm, loudly beating heart throughout — is in its gradually pieced-together tale of family togetherness, disruption and reconciliation. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is Fowler at her best, mixing cerebral and emotional appeal together in an utterly captivating manner.” The Seattle Times
“Rosemary's voice is achingly memorable, and Fowler's intelligent discourse on science vs. compassion reshapes the traditional family novel into something more universally relevant. The Cookes are unlike other families and like them at the same time, and through Rosemary's unique perspective Fowler forces us to confront some tough truths. This brave, bold, shattering novel reminds us what it means to be human, in the best and worst sense.” The Miami Herald
“Rosemary's voice — vulnerable, angry, shockingly honest — is so compelling and the cast of characters, including Fern, irresistible. A fantastic novel: technically and intellectually complex, while emotionally gripping.” Kirkus (starred review)
“Piquant humor, refulgent language, a canny plot rooted in real-life experiences, an irresistible narrator, threshing insights, and tender emotions — Fowler has outdone herself in this deeply inquisitive, cage-rattling novel.” Booklist (starred review)
“A strong, unsettling novel....Fowler explores the depths of human emotions and delivers a tragic love story that captures our hearts.” Library Journal (starred review)
“Rosemary's experience [is] a fascinating basis for insight into memory, the mind, and human development....Fowler's great accomplishment is not just that she takes the standard story of a family and makes it larger, but that the new space she's created demands exploration.” Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Karen Joy Fowler, A PEN/Faulkner and Dublin IMPAC nominee, is the author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Sarah Canary, The Sweetheart Season, Wit's End, Black Glass: Short Fictions, and Sister Noon.