‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler.

Our next read for the ‘Chi Uni Staff Book Group’ starting in November 2015 (next semester) will be. . . ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler.

A 2013 novel by the American writer Karen Joy Fowler. The novel won the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was also short-listed for the 2014 Man Booker Prize. Hope you enjoy reading it!


As a child, Rosemary used to talk all the time. So much so that her parents used to tell her to start in the middle if she wanted to tell a story. Now Rosemary has just started college and she barely talks at all. And she definitely doesn’t talk about her family. So we’re not going to tell you too much either: you’ll have to find out for yourself 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.

But there’s something unique about Rosemary’s sister, Fern. So now she’s telling her story; a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.



Author: Angela Roberts

Writer. Reader. Theatre buff. Hemingway boff. Footy fan. IT-whizz. PETA's Action Team member. Mum. Wife. Loves words, characters and stories.

4 thoughts on “‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler.”

  1. “What strikes one first is the voice: robust, sly, witty, elegant, unexpected and never boring. Here is a novelist who absolutely comprehends the pleasures of imagination and transformation.”
    —Margot Livesey, The New York Times Book Review

    “An astonishing narrative voice, at once lyric and ironic, satiric and nostalgic…Fowler can tell stories that engage and enchant.”
    —San Francisco Chronicle

  2. Hands up who cried at the end. Me! That image of Rosemary and Fern will stay with me. . . I cried, re-read the scene, cried again. I’m still thinking about it now. Terrific story, unfolding, slowly, to such an emotive ending.

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