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Sarah Canary Two unlikely people form an unexpected bond in bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler s captivating historical novel a New York Times Notable BookWhen black cloaked Sarah Canary wanders into a Chinese labor camp in the Washington territories in , Chin Ah Kin is ordered by his uncle to escort the ugliest woman he could imagine away Far away But Chin soon becomes the followerIn 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 Powerfully imaginedDrop everything and follow Sarah CanaryHumor and horror, history and myth dance cheek to cheek in this Jack London meets L Frank Baum worldHere is a work that manages to be at the same time and often in the same sentence dark and deep and fun The Washington Post Book World I m not sure what to make of this dreamlike story This is an exciting, wild, sometimes fractured woman chase, and the chasers are a wild team of men and one woman with varying levels of sanity and cultures laced with superstitions and myths The wild woman they pursue is called Sarah Canary.I m a one book at a time reader who likes to sink into a story and read it straight through Unfortunately I was constantly interrupted during my reading of this book, and it is a testament to the writing th I m not sure what to make of this dreamlike story This is an exciting, wild, sometimes fractured woman chase, and the chasers are a wild team of men and one woman with varying levels of sanity and cultures laced with superstitions and myths The wild woman they pursue is called Sarah Canary.I m a one book at a time reader who likes to sink into a story and read it straight through Unfortunately I was constantly interrupted during my reading of this book, and it is a testament to the writing that I was as frustrated as I was I had to restart many times and I often had trouble recalling who people were And the details in this book are important.My introduction to Karen Joy Fowler s work was her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves it made me want to read all her other books Sarah Canary is a very different creation a historical novel that shows, from a sly writer s perspective, the unfair plight of women and animals in our culture, and the unclear nature of truth A man says something Sometimes it turns out to be the truth, but this has nothing to do with the man who says it What we say occupies a very thin surface, like the skin over a body of water Beneath this, through the water itself, is what we see, sometimes clearly if the water is calm, sometimes vaguely if the water is troubled, and we imagine this vision to be the truth, clear or vague But beneath this is yet another level This is the level of what is and this level has nothing to do with what we say or what we see.I resonate with this quote I understand it But in this book I m not sure what Fowler said or what I saw Nevertheless, it was an interesting ride and I still want to read all of Fowler s books Exhaustive research and exquisite writing, but this one just didn t add up to an enjoyable story for me It is viscerally uncomfortable, with its depiction of madness, race and gender in the post Civil War West. First, I didn t know Karen Joy Fowler had written so many books.Second, this one is as different from the only other one I ve read by her, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves as it s possible to be leading me to think her repertoire is appealingly eclectic.Third, it s fantastic, especially if you like 1 quirkiness, lots of humour2 picaresque sort of it s episodic and adventuresome at least 3 historical fiction, with4 a post modern twist many twists 5 summarizing interjections of re First, I didn t know Karen Joy Fowler had written so many books.Second, this one is as different from the only other one I ve read by her, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves as it s possible to be leading me to think her repertoire is appealingly eclectic.Third, it s fantastic, especially if you like 1 quirkiness, lots of humour2 picaresque sort of it s episodic and adventuresome at least 3 historical fiction, with4 a post modern twist many twists 5 summarizing interjections of real history that illuminate the narrative like little jewels6 plus same goes for Emily Dickinson epigraphs heading each chapter7 the year 1873 it seems to have been a doozy 8 myth subtle, unobtrusive but definitive, which offers also9 a meta and sly wink to storytellinggenerally10 a fantastically strong cast of characters who really bond with and love on another despite their vast differences, revolving around the eponymous Sarah Canary whom we never really meet, but who acts as a foil and catalyst for all the action11 PNW setting, dripping with rain, populated by seals, mermaids and dragons and lots of fleas 12 a layered, subtle social commentary about misogyny and racismPeople have called this a re telling of The Wizard of Oz, but I didn t get that at all Also, I have no idea what is sci fi about it, tho it seems to have been Nebula nominated there s some myth and fantastical story elements, but nowhere did this read as sci fi to me Please to edumacate me in comments, if you get either of these references.Super worthwhile read Mystified I m completely mystified Clearly I missed something Why is this listed as SF And why was it a Tiptree nominee What did I miss A woman wanders into Chin s camp His uncle decides that Chin should take her to a nearby asylum both men fear that she might be an enchantress or an immortal Along the way, the woman later called Sarah Canary she doesn t speak except in nonsense sounds repeatedly slips in and out of Chin s life as he desperately tries to care for her without understand Mystified I m completely mystified Clearly I missed something Why is this listed as SF And why was it a Tiptree nominee What did I miss A woman wanders into Chin s camp His uncle decides that Chin should take her to a nearby asylum both men fear that she might be an enchantress or an immortal Along the way, the woman later called Sarah Canary she doesn t speak except in nonsense sounds repeatedly slips in and out of Chin s life as he desperately tries to care for her without understanding his own motivations Along the way he picks up a couple of other people all of the people involved seem to orbit around Sarah.It s really very strange and I m absolutely sure that I missed something Hopefully my reading buddy has some insight

  • Paperback
  • 290 pages
  • Sarah Canary
  • Karen Joy Fowler
  • English
  • 06 August 2017
  • 0452286476

About the Author: Karen Joy Fowler

I was born in Bloomington, Indiana I was due on Valentine s Day but arrived a week early my mother blamed this on a really exciting IU basketball game My father was a psychologist at the University, but not that kind of psychologist He studied animal behavior, and especially learning He ran rats through mazes My mother was a polio survivor, a schoolteacher, and a pioneer in the co operative nursery school movement Along with basketball, my family loved books The day I got my first library card there was a special dinner to celebrate And before I could read myself, I remember my father reading The Iliad to me, although really he was reading it to my older brother, I just got to be there A shocking book And I remember Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh in my father s voice and a bunch of other things that weren t movies yet My parents strongly disapproved of the Disney version of things Pooh believed in a spoonful of honey, but Mary Poppins did not.I have great memories of Bloomington Our block was packed with kids and we played enormous games that covered whole blocks of territory, with ten kids to a side One of my childhood friends was Theodore Deppe, who s now an outstanding poet I planned to grow up to be a dog trainer myself.Both my parents were raised in southern California and so regarded our time in Indiana as an exile When I was 11 years old my father was offered a job with Encyclopedia Britannica that necessitated our moving to Palo Alto, California My parents were thrilled to be coming back My older brother, for reasons that escape me, was equally pleased I was devastated.Palo Alto was muchsophisticated than Bloomington At recess in Bloomington we played baseball, skipped rope, played jacks or marbles depending on the season In Palo Alto girls my age were already setting their hair, listening to the radio, talking about boys I considered it a sad trade The best thing about the sixth grade was that my teacher, Miss Sarzin, read The Hobbit to us.After reading manybooks, I graduated from Palo Alto High in 1968 and went to Berkeley I was a political science major and an antiwar activist I was in Berkeley during People s Park, when the city was occupied and there were tanks on the street corners, and I was there during the Jackson State Kent State killings I met my husband there He d been part of the free speech movement that was my idea of glamor We got married the year I graduated and we came to graduate school at UC Davis together.As an undergraduate I had a special interest in India and Gandhi, and a general interest in imperialism I find the intersection of cultures fascinating, the misunderstandings that occur, the mistakes that are innocently made I m not so fascinated by the mistakes that aren t innocent, although there are a good manyof the latter kind As a graduate student I focused on China and Japan It s not clear to me what my career goals were whatever, I had my first child during spring break of the last year of my masters Six days less than two years later I had a second child My husband and I still live in Davis, although the kids have left for college and beyond.I decided to try to be a writer on my 30th birthday.All questions answered


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