Post Script: We Are All Completely Besides Oursleves- Karen Joy Fowler


<Cover We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves

We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves

Karen Joy Fowler

Serpents Tale

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781846689666



What if you grew up to realise that your father had used your childhood as an experiment?

Rosemary doesn’t talk very much, and about certain things she’s silent. She had a sister, Fern, her whirlwind other half, who vanished from her life in circumstances she wishes she could forget. And it’s been ten years since she last saw her beloved older brother Lowell.

Now at college, Rosemary starts to see that she can’t go forward without going back, back to the time when, aged five, she was sent away from home to her grandparents and returned to find Fern gone.


My View:

What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said before? I came late to this party, I had heard lots of good things but nothing in specific. I knew this was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 (yes again I am late to this party- my apologies), so I knew this was a title that was worth investigating. My tip – for those who have not read this yet– do not read any reviews – just know this is an amazing book and read and discover that for yourself.

After I read this outstanding narrative – I needed a few days to compose myself and to regain my emotional equilibrium. I wanted to mouth the language of teenagers and simply state “OMG OMG!” loudly and proudly. How does anyone come up with a premise such as this? (I know I read the last pages, her daughter planted the seed) And then how do that make this premise work so well? What an incredible brain Karen Joy Fowler must have to even contemplate such a mind blowing story. What an amazing journey the reader is taken on – the big reveal is around page 77 ( don’t seek this out, just read and follow along and be prepared for the king hit), and  Karen I do understand why you made that reveal at that point, by then we are well and truly involved in this family….and understanding and listening in and being part of this story is an great strategy – our protagonist and narrator, Rosemary, talks to us as if we are part of a conversation or maybe privy to her own personal thoughts or her dairy…almost in a stream of conscious type dialogue in parts of the book. I loved the story of the two sisters – Rosemary and Fern. So innocent and so beguiling. And so sad.

What happens next is…well you will have to read that yourself. There are some things in life, ordinary everyday things that you don’t usually even stop to consider before reading this book that now will haunt you forever. Were you complicit in this events? By saying or doing nothing were you giving tacit approval? I dare you to have a dry eye after you complete this journey…OMG!!!


17 thoughts on “Post Script: We Are All Completely Besides Oursleves- Karen Joy Fowler

  1. So…let me guess, Carol. You liked this, right? 😉 I am really glad to hear it. And as far as ‘late to the party,’ you have no idea how many books I still haven’t got to yet…

    • Margot this reads was breath taking! Yep, you could say I liked this one Margot 🙂 I cant imagine what your TBR towers look like Margot 🙂 I do feel like I am making progress with mine ( cant get to post office this week to collect my mail so I think the pile will rapidly increase next week) I had better get reading and reduce that pile on hand as quickly as I can. The advanced copies for the Christmas releases will soon be here – a new Michael Connelly is on the list. Speaking of which is the TV series Bosch showing in the US? Starts here Wednesday – I am watching it.

  2. Great review. I loved this book. It had interesting ideas, great writing and great characters. My blog was on intended hiatus when I read it, might have to read it again to review

  3. I’m late to this party, too. I’ve heard Karen discussing it in interviews, and it sounds OMG! Amazing! I vaguely remember seeing something on TV in the 70s or 80s about how in America people were adopting one of these. I remember an older lady having one as a cure for her loneliness. You’ve made me really want to read it …

  4. After your interesting review, I rushed to put a hold on this book at my local library. As per your instructions I will not read any other reviews until after I have read the book. I really hate spoilers. These days, I don’t even read the publisher’s blurb on the back or flyleaf as they tend to give away too much of the plot.
    Thanks so much Carol, for your terrific reviews, which always help point me towards new-to-me authors.

    • Thanks so much Anne for letting me know how much you enjoy my reviews – it is great to get feedback and such positive feedback is even better to hear. 🙂 I have had a “run” of great reads this past month or so – stay tuned andslook out for one by Stephanie Bishop -The other Side of the World – not crime fiction but worthy of a read.

  5. Pingback: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves // by Karen Joy Fowler | The Aroma of Books

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