We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

By Karen Joy Fowler
(Marian Wood Books/Putnam, Hardcover, 9780399162091, 320pp.)

Publication Date: May 30, 2013

List Price: $26.95*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the June 2013 Indie Next List
“Rosemary is not yet six when her sister, Fern, is removed to a center for research. Fern and Rosemary were inseparable, and her family falls apart after the removal: Lowell, her brother, disappears when he discovers where Fern was sent; their father becomes a distant, brooding man; and their mother is a shell of her former self. Why a research facility? Because Fern is a chimpanzee. In this extraordinary novel written by a gifted author, Fowler opens our eyes to the inhumane treatment of animals by humans and helps us to identify what it truly means to be human.”
-- Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI


Description
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.



About the Author
Karen Joy Fowler, one of the most accomplished and most adroit fiction writers in America (Los Angeles Review of Books), lives in Santa Cruz, California. She is the author of six novels and three story collections, which range from contemporary and historical to literary and science fiction. Her short stories have won Nebula and World Fantasy awards, and in 2014, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, hailed by Khaled Hosseini as a gripping, bighearted book, won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the California Book Award and was a finalist for England s Man Booker Prize in the first year it was opened to Americans.
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