The American author and her husband, who have two grown children, live in Santa Cruz, California. See karenjoyfowler.com.
In her moving and elegant new collection, New York Times bestseller Karen Joy Fowler writes about John Wilkes Booth’s younger brother, a one-winged man, a California cult, and a pair of twins, and she digs into our past, present, and future in the quiet, witty, and incisive way only she can.
The sinister and the magical are always lurking just below the surface: for a mother who invents a fairy-tale world for her son in “Halfway People”; for Edwin Booth in “Edwin’s Ghost,” haunted by his fame as “America’s Hamlet” and his brother’s terrible actions; for Norah, a rebellious teenager facing torture in “The Pelican Bar” as she confronts Mama Strong, the sadistic boss of a rehabilitation facility; for the narrator recounting her descent in “What I Didn’t See.”
With clear and insightful prose, Fowler’s stories measure the human capacities for hope and despair, brutality and kindness. This collection, which includes two Nebula Award winners, is sure to delight readers, even as it pulls the rug out from underneath them.
Carry Nation is on the loose again, breaking up discos, smashing topless bars, radicalizing women as she preaches clean living to men more intent on booze and babes. As for Mrs. Gulliver, her patience with her long-voyaging Lemuel is wearing thin: money is short and the kids can’t even remember what their dad looks like. And what of Tonto, the ever-faithful companion, turning forty without so much as a birthday phone call from that masked man?
In fifteen short fictions, Karen Joy Fowler turns accepted norms inside out and fairy tales upside down, pushing us to reconsider all our unquestioned verities and proving once more that she is among our most subversive writers of fiction. Filled with imaginative virtuosity, replete with wicked insights and cunning conceits, Black Glass delivers everything readers have come to expect of her fiction.
Set in San Francisco in the Gilded Age, Sister Noon is a period mystery that showcases the wickedly wry and deliciously subversive talents readers expect of Karen Joy Fowler.
“An astonishing narrative voice, at once lyric and ironic, satiric and nostalgic. Fowler can tell stories that engage and enchant.” —San Francisco Chronicle
By dint of birth, Lizzie Hayes is part of San Francisco’s social elite. But Lizzie, so seemingly docile, hides within her a rebellious heart. All she needs is the spark that will liberate her from the ruling conventions. And that spark is Mary Ellen Pleasant. With her appearance on Lizzie’s doorstep, she brings with her not only mystery and a whiff of disrepute but also the key that will unlock Lizzie’s passionate nature. “You can be anything you want,” she tells Lizzie. “You don’t have to…[more]
When black cloaked Sarah Canary wanders into a railway camp in the Washington territories in 1873, Chin Ah Kin is ordered by his uncle to escort “the ugliest woman he could imagine” away. Far away. But Chin soon becomes the follower. In the first of many such instances, they are separated, both resurfacing some days later at an insane asylum. Chin has run afoul of the law and Sarah has been committed for observation. Their escape from the asylum in the company of another inmate sets into motion a series of adventures and misadventures that are at once hilarious, deeply moving, and downright terrifying.