Nominated by:

Richmond Public Library, USA

Seattle Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Marian Wood /Putnam, USA

UK publisher - Serpent's Tail

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Karen Joy Fowler      

2015 Longlist

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.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Karen Joy Fowler, A PEN/Faulkner and Dublin IMPAC nominee is the author of Sarah Canary, The Sweetheart Season, Black Glass: Short Fictions and Sister Noon.

Librarians’ Comments

Funny and heartbreaking in equal parts, Karen Joy Fowler’s sixth novel “starts in the middle” and takes the reader back to the murky world of 1970s behavioral psychology experiments through the unreliable memories of a young woman recalling a childhood trauma that drastically altered her and her family. The novel deftly explores ethics, memory, animal rights issues, and the meaning of family. With a knockout twist that the author masterfully conceals, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a breathless joy to read.

This masterfully executed story of one family is an examination of the boundaries of love, and of memory; of what makes us human; and of how we forge individual and collective identities. All this, and it’s tremendous fun to read too.

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