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, New York Times bestselling author "
In this curious, wonderfully intelligent novel, Karen Joy Fowler brings to life a most unusual family. Wonderful Fern, wonderful Rosemary! Through them we feel what it means to be a human animal.-- "Andrea Barrett, Pulitzer Prize winning author "
A novel so readably juicy and surreptitiously smart, it deserves all the attention it can get...[Its] fresh direction and madcap plot bend the tone toward comedy, but it never mislays its solemn raison d'etre. Monkeyshines aside, this is a story of Everyfamily.-- "New York Times Book Review"
Unsettling, emotionally complex.-- "Washington Post "
Fowler has given us the gift of a splendid novel. Not only is the story fascinating, moving, and beautifully written, but it also ripples with humor.-- "Boston Globe "
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...Utterly captivating.-- "Seattle Times "
By the time you get to the last section of the novel, which is absolutely sublime...you will feel as though Rosemary and Fern are your own siblings.-- "NPR's All Things Considered "
Achingly memorable...This brave, bold, shattering novel reminds us what it means to be human, in the best and worst sense.-- "Miami Herald "
Fowler's novel is superb.-- "NPR's Fresh Air "
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 Reviews (starred review) "
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014
The Million Copy Best-Seller
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.