Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014
The Million Copy Best-Seller
Rosemary's young, just at college, and she's decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.
Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. There's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. And it was this decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary's trouble. So 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. We hope you enjoy it, and if, when you're telling a friend about it, you do decide to spill the beans about Fern - it's pretty hard to resist - don't worry. One of the few studies Rosemary doesn't quote says that spoilers actually enhance reading.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Karen Joy Fowler made waves as one of the first American authors ever nominated for the Man Booker Prize upon clinching a spot on 2014’s shortlist with this raucous novel. Her protagonist, Rosemary Cooke, is a hilarious, messy and completely absorbing narrator, unspooling the story of her broken-up family with snide commentary and riotous asides. As a child, Rose was an incessant talker who was instructed to “start in the middle” of a story. Fowler holds back major revelations about the disappearance of Rose’s siblings—and the role of her pedantic psychology professor father—and enthralls readers with a wildly original family saga.
It's worth the trouble to avoid spoilers, including the ones on the back cover, for Fowler's marvelous new novel; let her introduce the troubled Cooke family before she springs the jaw-dropping surprise at the heart of the story. Youngest daughter Rosemary is a college student acting on dangerous impulses; her first connection with wild-child Harlow lands the two in jail. Rosemary and the FBI are both on the lookout for her brother Lowell, who ran away after their sister Fern vanished. Rosemary won't say right away what it was that left their mother in a crippling depression and their psychology professor father a bitter drunk, but she has good reasons for keeping quiet; what happens to Fern is completely shattering, reshaping the life of every member of the family. In the end, when Rosemary's mother tells her, "I wanted you to have an extraordinary life," it feels like a fairy-tale curse. But Rosemary's experience isn't only heartbreak; it's a fascinating basis for insight into memory, the mind, and human development. Even in her most broken moments, Rosemary knows she knows things that no one else can know about what it means to be a sister, and a human being. Fowler's (The Jane Austen Book Club) 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.
Wonderful, compelling and intelligent
This book is a must read
Best book I've read in ages
I read this book last summer and still think it's the best book I've read in ages. Completely compelling and thought evoking. I have recommended lots of times and will continue too.
The most intellectual book I have read in a long time. The question I never ask myself were in the book. The answer I give to myself were different from those of the author. Amazing book