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Publisher Description

The New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club introduces a middle-class American family that is ordinary in every way but one in this novel that won the PEN/Faulkner Award and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.
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.

“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 

Fiction & Literature
May 30
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

dpied ,

nearly flawless

Do not look up the premise of this book before you read it. You want to be surprised. The language is captivating, heartbreaking and hilarious. and the way the story contracts and expands as the author tells it came at me like nothing I’ve ever read. At first the protagonist might seem shallow but she’s an undergrad in the 90s. We all seemed shallow. The story of her life and the lives around her is ocean deep and the relationships she has with the inhabitants of the story as well as herself go deep, then surface as if for breath and barrel down again. So powerful. Hint: look up words, ideas and phrases you don’t know because they often come back like very meaningful lost children.

kimberlyanneof ,


I read a lot. I’ve been moved by many books. This was more than a book- it was a beautiful experience. Every word sings to you. The characters are realistic and poignant and the way they are written implants themselves into you, you quickly become invested in them. I had sadness that the story had to end at all. Read it. Read it, read it.

Cheep Reader ,

Not at all what you think

This is a book in a class by itself. So beyond the norm of story telling. Heart wrenching yet so rewarding it gives the reader much to ponder. Wow. Just, wow.

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