We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Paperback)Karen Joy Fowler (author)
An utterly addictive, luminously intelligent novel of unexpected family dynamics and the burning need to confront the past, Fowler's glorious masterwork is built upon one of the finest twists in contemporary fiction.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014
Rosemary's young, just at college, and she's decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.
Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. There's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. And it was this decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary's trouble.
So now she's telling her story: full of hilarious asides and brilliantly spiky lines, it's a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice. It's funny, clever, intimate, honest, analytical and swirling with ideas that will come back to bite you. We hope you enjoy it, and if, when you're telling a friend about it, you do decide to spill the beans about Fern - it's pretty hard to resist - don't worry. One of the few studies Rosemary doesn't quote says that spoilers actually enhance reading.
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 281 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 20 mm
'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 d'etre. Monkeyshines aside, this is a story of every family 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
'We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a dark cautionary tale hanging out, incognito-style, in what at first seems a traditional family narrative. It is anything but. This novel is deliciously jaunty in tone and disturbing in material. Karen Joy Fowler tells the story of how one animal-the animal of man-can simultaneously destroy and expand our notion of what is possible' - Alice Sebold
'No contemporary writer creates characters more appealing, or examines them with greater acuity and forgiveness, than she does' - Michael Chabon
'Fowler has given us the gift of a splendid novel. Not only is the story fascinating, moving, and beautifully written, but also it ripples with humor; its quirky characters include a puppet named Madame Defarge and a Seinfeldian assortment of apartment dwellers. Layered with a huge moral compass and enormous humanity, this portrait of a family one-fifth simian will, nevertheless, touch and delight every human' - Boston Globe
'Hinges upon Rosemary's sharp voice, which at its best includes funny, self-aware asides such as an early reference to a character at a holiday dinner where she flippantly advises the reader, "Don't get attached to him; he's not really part of this story' - LA Times
'Karen Joy Fowler has written the book she's always had in her to write. With all the quiet strangeness of her amazing Sarah Canary, and all the breezy wit and skill of her beloved Jane Austen Book Club, and a new, urgent gravity, she has told the story of an American family. An unusual family-but aren't all families unusual? A very American, an only-in-America family-and yet an everywhere family, whose children, parents, siblings, love one another very much, and damage one another badly. Does the love survive the damage? Will human beings survive the damage they do to the world they love so much? This is a strong, deep, sweet novel' - Ursula K Le Guin
'It's been years since I've felt so passionate about a book. When I finished at 3 a.m., I wept, then I woke up the next morning, reread the ending, and cried all over again' - Ruth Ozecki
'A profound, moving and enchanting look at a very complex family.' - Anna Carey, Irish Times
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ReviewsView all Sign In To Write A Review
I'm in the minority of reviewers here, because I didn't enjoy this book at all. It was disappointing with little point to it. There wasn't a middle high point and it eventually petered out to a... More
“We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves”
Before reading this book, most of the publicity I'd seen about it had been about 'the twist' - which was original and pretty great - but what I loved most about this book was purely the writing and the... More
This book was recommended to me and while it's well written I have to say that it wasn't my idea of a good read, I prefer thrillers,mystery types.
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