My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a nominee for both the Nebula Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. I can’t remember now where I read it, but this is the first time the same novel has been nominated for both prestigious awards. I got curious (the Nebula Awards focuses on science fiction and fantasy, while I have always assumed the PEN/Faulkner focuses on realist literary work, though I can see that I am mistaken) and immediately went on Amazon to read the sample. You should go ahead and do that. The writing is extraordinary. Two pages in and I was hooked. Chapter 1 shows a couple breaking up and the girl going berserk in a cafeteria. What’s not to like?
The novel is narrated by Rosemary Cooke, and she starts her story, as she is wont to do, in the middle. It is 1996, she is 22 years old, and she has not seen her brother Lowell in a decade. Her sister Fern has been missing for seventeen years.
I am going to stop here just to say that this is an incredible book, very well-written, heartbreaking, with an important message to tell, and that you should stop reading this post (and the book’s reviews, and the summaries) and read the book instead.
However, if you have read it, or if you don’t mind spoilers, I’ll see you after the cut.