So I have only read one of Karen Joy Fowler’s books before: We are Completely Beside Ourselves. I really liked it. It’s about a family who raises a chimp alongside their other child and its various fallouts. It’s good.
But I also know her as the author of The Jane Austen Book Club which could be good, but I am suspicious of any book circulating around Jane Austen and her books because there’s so many of them.
And then her other books come with a variety of mixed subjects and reviews: so I can’t figure her out.
Anyway, here’s what some of the stories in this collection are about:
“The Pelican Bar” – About a wild teenager girl who gets high on mushrooms on her 15th birthday that she already didn’t deserve because she was on punishment already and as a result gets sent to a weird Gulf coast motel where she’s harshly punished, kept in tight control. It’s kind of like Matilda written by Harry Crews.
“Booth’s Ghost” – A series of memories, journals, and other scraps written by John Wilkes Booth’s brother leading up to and surrounding the Lincoln assassination.
“The Dark” – A weird story about plague, plague rats, Vietnam, and National Parks as told by a Vietnam vet looking for the girl he left behind.
“Always” – The story of the last survivor of a religious cult that was brought down through pretty tame legal measures still living in the eponymous city.
“Halfway People” – A little mini-epic.
“Marianas Islands” – A girl helps to construct a submarine. Subamarining occurs.
“Standing Room Only” – Yet another John Wilkes Booth story, this time circulating around the hotel of Mary Suratt.
“What I Didn’t See” – A little safari into the jungle that might be connected to her Booker Prize nominated novel We are Completely Beside Ourselves
“King Rat” – An uncanny adventure in a grocery store.
So there they are. Weird assortment of tales that maybe highlight the strange fascinations that Karen Joy Fowler has with the world.