We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

76%

8 Critic Reviews

In lesser hands, such whirlwind antics might juxtapose oddly with the profound questions the novel raises about animal rights, sibling loyalty...But Fowler is neither kooky or didactic: her narrative flits adeptly between registers, mixing pleasure and pain with all the naughty chutzpah of a chimp twizzling a feather duster.
-Guardian

Synopsis

“A gripping, bighearted book.” —Khaled Hosseini

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014

Winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award

One of the New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of 2013 and 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.
 

About Karen Joy Fowler

See more books from this Author
Karen Joy Fowler is the author of three story collections and six novels, one a national bestseller, another a PEN/Faulkner finalist, and all New York Times Notable Books. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.
 
Published May 30, 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons. 322 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bookmark Counts:
1
Want to Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
All: 8 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 0

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Apr 22 2013

Fowler’s...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.

Read Full Review of We Are All Completely Beside ... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Barbara Kingsolver on Jun 06 2013

The novel’s fresh diction and madcap plot — swapped suitcases, a Madame Defarge ventriloquist’s dummy, lost bikes and drug-laced coed high jinks — bend the tone toward comedy, but it never mislays its solemn raison d’être.

Read Full Review of We Are All Completely Beside ... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Liz Jensen on Mar 20 2014

In lesser hands, such whirlwind antics might juxtapose oddly with the profound questions the novel raises about animal rights, sibling loyalty...But Fowler is neither kooky or didactic: her narrative flits adeptly between registers, mixing pleasure and pain with all the naughty chutzpah of a chimp twizzling a feather duster.

Read Full Review of We Are All Completely Beside ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by LUCY SCHOLES on Mar 16 2014

Some might say I'm spoiling the twist, but given what plays out...the prose of which zings on the pages...deserves to be acclaimed for the right reasons. Focusing all the attention on the twist threatens to obscure Fowler's other more considerable talents.

Read Full Review of We Are All Completely Beside ... | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Annonymous on Jun 07 2013

...a different literary creature altogether — still witty but emotionally and intellectually riskier, and more indebted to Fowler's other books that toy with the sci-fi genre.

Read Full Review of We Are All Completely Beside ... | See more reviews from NPR

Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Henry Hitchings on Oct 03 2014

The strength of Fowler’s writing is its piercing evocation of the dynamics of family. Rosemary’s relatives may be eccentric, but their patterns of guilt, affection and evasiveness are familiar...the novel is at its best when it is quieter, probing the intricacies of love and loss with brave humour and a fine sense of emotional nuance.

Read Full Review of We Are All Completely Beside ... | See more reviews from Financial Times

LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Chris Barton on Jun 13 2013

...it's perhaps fitting that Fowler leans on the reader to infer so much from her characters in a book whose deepest impact is in forcing the reader to reconsider the divide between humans and animals.

Read Full Review of We Are All Completely Beside ... | See more reviews from LA Times

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Laura Eggertson on Jun 28 2013

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a tearjerker...It is deeply moving.

Read Full Review of We Are All Completely Beside ... | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
78%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 2002 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

User Review

Karen Russo 7 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 3.5 out of 5

Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'

Karen Russo

Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

×