‘A beautifully written, compelling story of family, love and loyalty’ – We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

waacboAs a child Rosemary never stopped talking and her parents had to teach her to choose only one of three things she wanted to say and when that wasn’t enough ‘to skip the beginning.  Start in the middle.’  Now she’s at college Rosemary hardly speaks at all and never speaks about her family, about why her elder brother has left and her sister is missing, about why her family is different to all others.  So she begins in the middle and tells us a deeply moving story about what constitutes a family and why her parents’ view that they were ‘a close knit family’ was ‘an astonishing triumph of wishful thinking’.

This stunningly good book has such a great twist that it’s hard to write about it without giving it away, but the story revolves around the moment Rosemary went to stay with her Grandparents in Indianapolis, the moment that became ‘the most extreme demarcation in [her] life’.  Before she went to stay with them she had a sister.  After she left them, she no longer did, leaving her so grief stricken ‘it was an ache, a hunger on the surface of my skin’.  Rosemary tells us how and why this happened and the part she played in it, in a rolling and looping narrative that swings back and forth on itself with ease and fluidity.  Rosemary’s voice is honest and believable and utterly compelling.  This is a character that makes you stay up all night listening to her telling her story to you; one who feels like a living breathing person who you are sad to say goodbye to at the end.

Any Cop?: We are all completely beside ourselves is a beautifully written, compelling story of family, love and loyalty that shows us who we are and what makes us human.

Julie Fisher


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