Coupon
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler


Overview - Shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize
Winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award

One of the New York Times Book Review 's 100 Notable Books of 2013
Named by The Christian Science Monitor as one of the 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...
  Read more...

 
Hardcover
  • $26.95

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

In Stock

FREE Shipping for Club Members
 
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

 
 
New & Used Marketplace 82 copies from $2.99
 
Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 
 

More About We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
 
 
 
Overview
Shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize
Winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award

One of the New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of 2013
Named by The Christian Science Monitor as one of the 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 gripping, big-hearted book...through the tender voice of her protagonist, Fowler has a lot to say about family, memory, language, science, and indeed the question of what constitutes a human being."--Khaled Hosseini

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780399162091
  • ISBN-10: 0399162097
  • Publisher: Marian Wood Books/Putnam
  • Publish Date: May 2013
  • Page Count: 320
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
  • Dimensions: 8.48 x 5.85 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.93 pounds

Series: Pen/Faulkner Award - Fiction

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Coming of Age
Books > Fiction > Family Life

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-04-22
  • Reviewer: Staff

It’s worth the trouble to avoid spoilers, including the ones on the back cover, for Fowler’s marvelous new novel; let her introduce the troubled Cooke family before she springs the jaw-dropping surprise at the heart of the story. Youngest daughter Rosemary is a college student acting on dangerous impulses; her first connection with wild-child Harlow lands the two in jail. Rosemary and the FBI are both on the lookout for her brother Lowell, who ran away after their sister Fern vanished. Rosemary won’t say right away what it was that left their mother in a crippling depression and their psychology professor father a bitter drunk, but she has good reasons for keeping quiet; what happens to Fern is completely shattering, reshaping the life of every member of the family. In the end, when Rosemary’s mother tells her, “I wanted you to have an extraordinary life,” it feels like a fairy-tale curse. But Rosemary’s experience isn’t only heartbreak; it’s a fascinating basis for insight into memory, the mind, and human development. Even in her most broken moments, Rosemary knows she knows things that no one else can know about what it means to be a sister, and a human being. Fowler’s (The Jane Austen Book Club) 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. Agent: Wendy Weil, the Wendy Weil Agency. (June)

 
BookPage Reviews

Sisters beneath the skin

Rosemary Cooke is, in many ways, an ordinary girl raised in an ordinary family. Her father is a behavioral psychologist who always brings his work home, and her mother is his supportive better half. As the youngest, Rose admires her older brother, Lowell, and is jealous because she thinks he loves her sister, Fern, the most. In fact, Rose thinks everyone would pay more attention to her if Fern weren’t around.

But that’s where the Cookes are different from most families. Rose and Fern are their father’s work: Fern is a chimp, being raised as a daughter in a human family.

In We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, author Karen Joy Fowler (Wit’s End, The Jane Austen Book Club) offers a masterful account of a woman unraveling a tangle of family history, memory and the complex emotions that arise from the way she was raised.

As a girl, Rose’s identity was forged against her will, leaving her marked as “monkey girl”—like most siblings, Rose’s movements and attitudes mimicked her sister’s. Rose wanted to know life without Fern.

And then she did. One summer, Rose was sent to her grandparents’ house while the family moved. When she returned home, Fern had been sent away for good. And Rose quickly discovered life wasn’t as she had expected it would be. “If I’d ever imagined I’d be more important without her constantly distracting everyone, I found quite the opposite,” she says. Years later, Rose is left to explore the balance between memory and fiction. Are her recollections of her sister’s departure and the days preceding it accurate, or has she repressed some events and adjusted those memories with time? Could her parents be trusted after promising to love Fern and Rose just the same, but giving Fern away? Why was her sister forced to leave?

Fowler’s extensive research into chimp behavioral studies and her understanding of psychology (like her character’s dad, Fowler’s own father was a behavioral psychologist) show up throughout this thoughtful novel. In the end, readers are left to ponder with Rose perhaps the most important question raised: What makes us human, anyway?

 
BAM Customer Reviews