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What I didn't see : and other stories
Karen Joy Fowler
Adult Fiction FOWLER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club goes genre-busting in this engrossing and thought-provoking set of short stories that mix history, sci-fi, and fantasy elements with a strong literary voice. Whether examining the machinations of a Northern California cult, in "Always," or a vague but obviously horrific violent act in the eerie title story, the PEN/Faulkner finalist displays a gift for thrusting familiar characters into bizarre, off-kilter scenarios. Fowler never strays from the anchor of human emotion that makes her characters so believable, even when chronicling the history of epidemics, ancient archeological digs, single family submersibles, or fallen angels. She even displays a keen understanding of the historical world around Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, in two wonderfully realized historical pieces. Her writing is sharp, playful, and filled with insights into the human condition. The genre shifts might surprise fans of her mainstream hit, but within these pages they'll find familiar dramas and crises that entertain, illuminate, and question the reality that surrounds us. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

These stories, characterized by obsession, disappearance, and revelation, often feature first-person narrators-e.g., the smart, sarcastic resident of a cult whose leader promises immortality but forbids sex with anyone but himself; John Wilkes Booth; a druggy teenage girl whose parents have foisted her off in the name of tough love; a woman who accompanies her husband on a jungle mission (what she did or didn't see feels like a riff on Joseph Conrad); and an expert on historical and contemporary instances of the bubonic plague. Fowler's previous short story collection, Black Glass, won the World Fantasy Award. Several stories here also fall within the realm of fantasy and sf, having appeared for the first time in publications like Asimov's Science Fiction. However, Fowler is surely best known today as the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, a novel in which we learn, among other things, that sf readers and Austenites have more in common than we might think. Verdict In these captivating stories, Fowler's discerning eye makes the incredible feel entirely credible.-Sue Russell, Bryn Mawr, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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