Book Review: We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler (2014)

16176440We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

In everyone’s life, there are people who stay and people who go and people who are taken against their will. 

Who do you remember the most? I asked myself. Those who make part of my primary circle of existence and have enriched my being with their presence? Or those who came and then departed for good, leaving an indelible mark on my life, as it looks today? Or those who, by all means that I could fathom, were supposed to be a part of my life but were disengaged from me with a menacing strike of destiny? I can’t say, honestly. Then I rearranged the words and popped the question to myself again. This time, the answer was clear.

The question: Who do I miss the most? 

Rosemary Cooke is in a swamp of agony and pain. She gets up one morning and realizes that her sister, Fern, has been taken away from her. After feigning audacity for many summers and winters, she, at last, acknowledges her inability to overcome this emotional ordeal. She does notwant to overcome, in fact. She tries to piece together thebeing from the vivid memories she has. The faint curtains of childhood plays and innocent tricks that swooshes at her fiery heart cannot veil her helplessness that burns her day and night. She knocks relentlessly at the doors of her parents but hears nothing more than the excruciating silence of their soldered hearts. She pounds, with a maddening howl, the trails of her wayward brother, in search of one, tiny clue to unite her with Fern. But her brother reflects her emptiness like a mirror and she stumbles upon her discolored self in his disturbing, almost resigned, eyes. Amid random strangers and nagging neighbors, erudite academicians and gullible students, she spins her mind, sending darts of questions in all directions, expecting at least one of them to echo her torment and send some optimistic air back at her. But the spinning does not yield anything more than a nauseating headache, reminiscent of her ever-sinking heart.

An off-told story is like a photograph in a family album. Eventually it replaces the moment it was meant to capture.

Does Fern reduce to a picture in her family album? Or she springs to life every time a loved one’s warm breath passes over her static smile? Does Rosemary give up on her only sister? In the blinding world of incorrigible beings, treacherous acts and calamitous events, can Fern’s whereabouts be a shining light on a tower house, visible from a distance and untouched by the swarming sea of awful things beneath? Is she even alive?

I thought it worthwhile to walk along with Rosemary and see where her hunt leads her to. And I must say the journey turned out to be a momentous one.

Fowler glorifies the bond of emotion that overgrows convention when tended with sensitivity, sacrifice, courage and love; when one does not need an endorsement from family and society and the warmth of a relationship is sufficient to melt the hardest of obstacles into nothingness; when we can love someone with such madness that the love does not die ever and hangs like a fragrant air for evenings together, long after we have taken divergent paths.

I stood looking at Rosemary when she reached the last point of her voyage. I shed a tear. Something took a roll inside me. I placed a hand on my heart and caressed it. We all love atleast someone in our lives like that. And we know, that love will never be over.

featured-we-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves

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[Image courtesy suffolklibraries.co.uk ]

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