We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

College student Rosemary Cooke is haunted by her unique childhood in this novel of nature, nurture, and the far-reaching effects of loss. Raised alongside chimpanzee Fern as part of her father’s academic research until Fern’s abrupt removal from the household, Rosemary’s struggle with the past becomes acute when her long-absent brother, who departed soon after Fern, comes back into her life.

Julia S., DC Public Library staff

“A gripping, bighearted book.” —Khaled Hosseini

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014

Winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award

One of the New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2013 and named by The Christian Science Monitor as one of the top 15 works of fiction

The New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club introduces a middle-class American family, ordinary in every way but one.

Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she explains. “I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion … she was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half and I loved her as a sister.” As a child, Rosemary never stopped talking. Then, something happened, and Rosemary wrapped herself in silence.

In We Are All Completely beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler weaves her most accomplished work to date—a tale of loving but fallible people whose well-intentioned actions lead to heartbreaking consequences.