We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - July book of the month

We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesGet your Spoiler Alert antennae firmly switched on. July's book has one of the biggest twists we've ever encountered in all six years of Mumsnet Bookclub, so we need to tread very carefully.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler is, as Alice Sebold brilliantly put it, 'a dark cautionary tale hanging out, incognito-style, in what at first seems a traditional family narrative'.

Narrated by the jaunty, sharp and very amusing Rosemary, the novel centres around the disappearance of Rosemary's siblings, and the impact on her and her scientist parents. The large supporting cast of oddball characters, and many beautifully detailed humorous scenes, initially make the book appear to be a straightforwardly comic novel. But underneath lies an enormous moral dilemma: a deeply thoughtful and complex argument about humanity, and how humans relate to the animal world.

Fowler sets radical experimentation against personal experience, science against compassion. She explores our ideas of love and family with great warmth and acuity. Winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award 2014, this book manages to be unusual and funny and sad and disturbing all at once. Discuss it here – but remember not to give the game away…


About the author


Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. 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. Fowler and her husband, who have two grown children and five grandchildren, live in Santa Cruz, California.

You can follow Karen on her website here.


Picture credits ©Beth Gwinn


Serpent's Tail have 50 free copies to give to Mumsnetters – to claim yours please fill in your details below. We’ll post on the thread when all the copies have gone.

If you're not lucky enough to bag one of the free books, you can always get your paperback or Kindle version.

Apply now, this giveaway closes at 10am, Tuesday 24 June. 


We are delighted that Karen will be joining us to discuss We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, her previous novels and her writing life on Tuesday 29 July, 9-10pm. So please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month, pop up any advance questions and we will see you all here, Tue 29 July.







Last updated: about 3 years ago