“We are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler (2013) – book review

This is a book you need to be able to pick up and read in large chunks.

It’s also one that is easily spoiled by saying too much and spilling the beans unwittingly to someone who is just embarking upon it, which is a shame because lack of knowledge about the plot enables one of those rare ‘hang on, did I just read that correctly, let me go back and check’ moments, to be savoured…

So if by any chance you know very little about the premise to this novel, don’t go looking for trouble and reading around it too much (and definitely don’t take a peek at The Guardian review until you have finished, or all will be lost!) – just launch straight in.

Karen Joy Fowler has a very engaging style, and the flipping around of the time span is worked so brilliantly that this is a book you can become completely immersed in. The narrative begins towards the end and then loops back to the beginning – not just once, but twice. A contender for the ‘Man Booker Prize’, this work reached the shortlist, but was pipped to the post by Richard Flanagan and “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”, and it has been on the best selling lists for long enough to mean that that element of surprise is probably sadly now long lost. If that’s the case, or if you have already read the novel, you may be interested in the Q&A that appears on the author’s website about how the book came to be, and which talks of her own childhood link to the story. And if you haven’t read it and enjoy a story with a twist or two, I think you will enjoy this one.

Read in December 2014.

Rating : 10/10

Shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2015, Winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Image taken from here.
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8 Responses to “We are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler (2013) – book review

  1. Kay says:

    I am just embarking on it – my Easter read- so not even going to peep at the plot …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do report back post read on what you thought of it.
    Kay – found myself wandering into W H Smiths on the rue de Rivoli this morning – and came out with “Do No Harm” tucked under my arm. Paid for, I hasten to add.
    Started reading the first pages on the metro and almost missed my stop. Nicola


  3. Julie says:

    Oh I’m excited for Kay to be starting on it. It is so well crafted. Just recommended it to friend Angela a couple of days ago and have just alerted her to your delicious blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutely loved this book. Just passed it on to the offspring.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My Offspring, number Two, chose to do a Research Project paper on the use of the narrative structure in this very book just a couple of months back – she really loved everything about this read – hope yours do too, Nx


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