Skip to content

Rosemary's young, just at college, and she's decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, 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. There's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. And it was this decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary's trouble. So now she's telling her story: full of hilarious asides and brilliantly spiky lines, it's a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.

Fowler has that ability, present in a great deal of American writers’ work, to ease you into a family situation and make you feel as if you’d known every single member personally for years. And it’s with such ease that she also asks the important questions, about how and why we love one another, what happens when that love is taken away, and what responsibility we have once we instill and respond to love. “And then this one crazy sister goes and ruins it all,” says a fellow student of Rosemary’s about her own family. But who is the crazy sister in Rosemary’s family? Who has really “ruined it all”?

It's funny, clever, intimate, honest, analytical and swirling with ideas that will come back to bite you.

Author Biography

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. Her 2004 novel, The Jane Austen Book Club, spent thirteen weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was a New York Times Notable Book. Fowler’s previous novel, Sister Noon, was a finalist for the 2001 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Her debut novel, Sarah Canary, won the Commonwealth medal for best first novel by a Californian, was listed for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize as well as the Bay Area Book Reviewers Prize, and was a New York Times Notable Book. Fowler’s short story collection Black Glass won the World Fantasy Award in 1999, and her collection What I Didn’t See won the World Fantasy Award in 2011. Her most recent novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, won the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction and was short-listed for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.

She is the co-founder of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award and the current president of the Clarion Foundation (also known as Clarion San Diego).

Fowler and her husband, who have two grown children and seven grandchildren, live in Santa Cruz, California.


Book Details

Available in paperback – 336 pages

Publisher: Serpent's Tail; Main edition (19 Jun. 2014)

ISBN: 184668966X

Also available to download in in Audible