9780399162091

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Pen/Faulkner Award - Fiction)

Fowler, Karen Joy

ISBN 10: 0399162097 / 0-399-16209-7
ISBN 13: 9780399162091
Publisher: A Marian Wood Book/Putnam
Publication Date: 2013
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
Named a Best of 2013 pick by: The New York Times Book Review, Slate, Newsday, Chicago Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, The Christian Science Monitor, Library Journal, and BookPage

"I thought this was 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

From the New York Times–bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club, the story of an American family, middle class in middle America, ordinary in every way but one. But that exception is the beating heart of this extraordinary novel.

Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she tells us. “It’s never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion, I’d scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister.”

Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. She’s smart, vulnerable, innocent, and culpable. With some guile, she guides us through the darkness, penetrating secrets and unearthing memories, leading us deeper into the mystery she has dangled before us from the start. Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, “Rosemary” truly is for remembrance.

Review:
From the New York Times–bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club, the story of an American family, middle class in middle America, ordinary in every way but one. But that exception is the beating heart of this extraordinary novel.

Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she tells us. “It’s never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion, I’d scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister.”

Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. She’s smart, vulnerable, innocent, and culpable. With some guile, she guides us through the darkness, penetrating secrets and unearthing memories, leading us deeper into the mystery she has dangled before us from the start. Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, “Rosemary” truly is for remembrance.

Product Description

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Book Description: A Marian Wood Book/Putnam, 2013. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Praise for WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES "You may find yourself on a beach or by a pool or just with some surplus time . . . Use it to read this goddamn book." Gawker "Elegantly and humorously orchestrated . . . Knitting together Rosemary's at times poignant, at times hilarious scraps of uncovered memories, Fowler creates a fantastical tale of raw, animalistic love." O, The Oprah Magazine "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'tre . Monkeyshines aside, this is a story of Everyfamily 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, The New York Times Book Review "If you think such blurring of the categories between animals and humans is sentimental bunk or worse, blasphemy, Fowler''s subversive novel dares you to think again."Maureen Corrigan, NPR's "Fresh Air" "All sorts of fascinating questions arise from her story: what is freedom, what is captivity, what is animal, and what is human. By the time you get to the last section of the novel, which is absolutely sublime, I have to tell you, you will feel as though Rosemary and Fern are your own siblings. And you, too, may be, as I was, completely beside yourself with a mixture of misery and joy."Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" "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 "[The novel] lies somewhere between psychological thriller, scientific theory and coming-of-age story, a seemingly untenable combination. But Fowler, through wit and mastery of her craft, handles the complexity effortlessly." USA Today "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!" The Cleveland Plain-Dealer "Readers raved about all [three] of these books, but the narrative immediacy of Fowler's won the day.by all accounts a deeply affecting read" ELLE, The ELLE Readers' Prize, July 2013 "Fowler's interests here are in what sets humans apart from their fellow primates. Cognitive, language and memory skills all come into playful question. But 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, mixing cerebral and emotional appeal together in an utterly captivating manner." The Seattle Times "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. The Cookes are unlike other families and like them at the same time, and through Rosemary's unique perspective Fowler forces us to confront some tough truths. This brave, bold, shattering novel reminds us what it means to be human, in the best and worst sense." The Miami Herald "Beneath the basic plotline lies a story as fantastic, terrible and beautiful as any Grimms'' fairy tale. Throughout the book, Fowler''s brilliant wordcraft intertwines tragedy and levity in a masterful crazy quilt of innocence, loss, renewal and bittersweet hope." Santa Cruz Sentinel "Rosemary's voicevulnerable, angry, shockingly honestis so compelling and the cast of characters, including Fern, irresistible. A fantastic novel: technically and intellectually complex, while. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0399162097

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Book Description: A Marian Wood Book/Putnam. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0399162097 Coming of age in middle America, 18-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister. By the best-selling author of The Jane Austen Book Club. Bookseller Inventory # 16267165

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