We Are Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

imageI would like to read We Are Completely Beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, the bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club. It was 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 and is 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. It features the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary.

As a child Rosemary Cooke never stopped talking, however all this changed when her sister Fern was removed, It was the decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary’s trouble. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. As a young woman, she wrapped herself in silence: the silence of intentional forgetting, of protective cover. Something happened, something so awful she has buried it in the recesses of her mind. 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.

Now her adored older brother is also in trouble and is now a fugitive, wanted by the FBI for domestic terrorism. And her once lively mother is a shell of her former self, her clever and imperious father now a distant, brooding man. And Fern, Rosemary’s beloved sister, her accomplice in all their childhood mischief? Fern’s is a fate the family, in all their innocence, could never have imagined. Rosemary’s young, just at college, and she’s decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other. 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.

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