We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves : Shortlisted for the Booker Prize

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Description

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. It's funny, clever, intimate, honest, analytical and swirling with ideas that will come back to bite you.

'Wise, provocative and wildly endearing ... Many a novel has devoted itself to exploring variations of Larkin's lament about what mums and dads do to their kid. But if any other book has done it as exhilaratingly as the achingly funny, deeply serious heart-breaker that is Fowler's 10th novel, and made it ring true for the whole of mankind, I've yet to read it. This is a moral comedy to shout about from the rooftops' Liz Jensen, Guardian
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 129 x 198mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1788167104
  • 9781788167109

Review quote

Readably juicy and surreptitiously smart -- Barbara Kingsolver Explosive, provocative, and thoughtful -- Philippa Gregory A dark cautionary tale hanging out, incognito-style, in what at first seems a traditional family narrative -- Alice Sebold One of the best novels I've read ever. It just destroyed me ... she's writing at the absolute top of her game -- Romola Garai An original and spontaneous take on family that grabs you and doesn't let you go. -- Judy Blume * Elle * Wise, provocative and wildly endearing ... achingly funny, deeply serious heart-breaker -- Liz Jensen * Guardian * Full of surprises, containing a real-life premise that beggars belief, a twist to rival anything in recent memory, and an ending that will have you in floods of tears -- Independent on Sunday There have been many books written about sibling love and rivalry but few, I'm sure, can rend the heart and bore beneath the skin quite like this one. I began lightly sobbing at about page 77 and continued intermittently until the end when the final few pages prompted a full-on, nose-blowing blubfest ... prepare to be charmed and traumatised -- Carol Midgley * The Times * Both one giant moral compass and a harrowing depiction of one family's tragic implosion, the prose zings on the pages -- Lucy Scholes * Observer * One of the most fabulous plot twists since Magwitch was revealed as Pip's benefactor ... perceptive, poignant -- Independent So readably juicy and surreptitiously smart ... 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 * New York Times Book Review * Wise, provocative and wildly endearing ... Many a novel has devoted itself to exploring variations of Larkin's lament about what mums and dads do to their kid. But if any other book has done it as exhilaratingly as the achingly funny, deeply serious heart-breaker that is Fowler's 10th novel, and made it ring true for the whole of mankind, I've yet to read it. This is a moral comedy to shout about from the rooftops -- Liz Jensen * Guardian * 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 The kind of book you'll want all your friends to read ... funny, surprising and heartbreaking * Stylist * So thought provoking that it could alter your future decisions as a consumer. I don't want to say much about the plot of the book ... except to compare it to Ann Patchett's State of Wonder in terms of weaving a larger story of radical, scientific experimentation into a very personal woman's narrative * MSN * The strength of Fowler's writing is its piercing evocation of the dynamics of family ... probing the intricacies of love and loss with brave humour -- Henry Hitchings * Financial Times * Explosive, provocative, and thoughtful, but still very funny. I'm so glad to have discovered the author. -- Philippa Gregory * Mail on Sunday * Holds a mirror up to reflect what we're really made of -- Elena Seymenliyska * Daily Telegraph * 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 A comic novel that wrestles seriously with serious moral questions ... Fowler knows how to make her story funny and sad and disturbing and revelatory by erecting a space in which her reader is allowed to feel all of that for herself * Salon * 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... This brave, bold, shattering novel reminds us what it means to be human, in the best and worst sense * Miami Herald * 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 * Halfway through Karen Joy Fowler's enthralling novel "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," I was sort of beside myself, too, with that electric thrill of discovering a great book. I wanted to stay up all night to finish it, but I also wanted to stop and call all my book-loving friends immediately and blurt, "You have to read this book!" * Cleveland Plain Dealer * Fascinating, moving, and beautifully written, but also it ripples with humor ... Layered with a huge moral compass and enormous humanity, this portrait of a family will touch and delight every human * Boston Globe * [A]n unsettling, emotionally complex story that plumbs the mystery of our strange relationship with the animal kingdom - relatives included -- Ron Charles * Washington Post * No contemporary writer creates characters more appealing, or examines them with greater acuity and forgiveness, than she does -- Michael Chabon A profound, moving and enchanting look at a very complex family. -- Anna Carey * Irish Times * An astonishing achievement. Giant-stepping back and forth through the life of its put-upon narrator, Rosemary Cooke, the youngest of three siblings, the reader is treated to a wild ride of
tragic hilarity, but one which only ever serves to heighten its beautiful, heartbreaking core... a genuinely stunning novel - certainly one of the year's finest. -- Billy O'Callaghan * Irish Examiner * With all the pace of a thriller and the emotional pull of a romantic novel, this masterful work is intelligently written and will reel you in, hook, line and sinker. * The Lady * My favourite book this year. -- Justine Carbery * Irish Independent * Karen Joy Fowler is a very fine novelist indeed. -- Alan Murrin * TLS * The most impressively original book I've read this year. -- Liz Nugent * Irish Times * Dazzling ... shattering * Daily Telegraph *
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About Karen Joy Fowler

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014, won the PEN/Faulkner Prize and has sold over half a million copies. www.karenjoyfowler.com For an extract, reading guide, video interview and more visit www.waacbo.com
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