From the Man Booker finalist and bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves comes an epic and intimate novel about the family behind one of the most infamous figures in American history: John Wilkes Booth.
In 1822,...Read More
In 1822, a secret family moves into a secret cabin some thirty miles northeast of Baltimore, to farm, to hide, and to bear ten children over the course of the next sixteen years. Junius Booth - breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor, and master of the house in more ways than one - is at once a mesmerizing talent and a man of terrifying instability. One by one the children arrive, as year by year, the country draws frighteningly closer to the boiling point of secession and civil war.
As the tenor of the world shifts, the Booths emerge from their hidden lives to cement their place as one of the country's leading theatrical families. But behind the curtains of the many stages they have graced, multiple scandals, family triumphs, and criminal disasters begin to take their toll, and the solemn siblings of John Wilkes Booth are left to reckon with the truth behind the destructively specious promise of an early prophecy.
Booth is a startling portrait of a country in the throes of change and a vivid exploration of the ties that make, and break, a family.
Karen Joy Fowler is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including The Jane Austen Book Club and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which was the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.
"The historical context [Fowler] offers is of a pre-Civil War America of deep moral divides, political differences tearing close families apart, populism and fanaticism run amok. The similarities to today are riveting and chilling." - Kirkus Reviews
"Razor-sharp...Fowler sets the stage in remarkable prose....The nuanced plot is both historically rigorous and richly imagined. This is a winner." - Publishers Weekly
"Like the very best historical novels, Booth is a literary feast, offering much more than a riveting story and richly drawn characters. It offers a wealth of commentary about not only our past but also where we are today, and where we may be headed." - BookPage
"It's been nine years since we had a new Karen Joy Fowler novel. . . . It's definitely one we deserve." - Entertainment Weekly
"She weaves an intimate, engaging portrait of a tribe whose aims and alliances were always shifting, buffeted by tragedy (several beloved siblings died young) and fickle fortunes." - Entertainment Weekly
"Fowler presents an omniscient, bird's-eye view of these lives, along with a nod to what could be apocryphal. The result is an engrossing portrayal of a nineteenth-century family living through the U.S.' most turbulent era." - Booklist
"Booth is a sad, astonishing, and beautifully written look at a complicated, secretive family that failed to save one of their own from himself. Highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review
"An epic novel, it's both the story of an eccentric household and historical saga zooming in on the tumultuous lives of each family member as the country catapults into civil war." - Real Simple
"Fowler returns here with an ambitious and consequential saga about a family with a monster in their midst." - Philadelphia Inquirer
"Booth is a triumph! No one writes like Karen Joy Fowler, and in this gripping family saga, she has taken a piece of American history we thought we knew and told it slant. With wit, heart, and revelatory insight, she teases ghosts from their shadows, transforming the way we see the past, shedding new light on our troubled present." - Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
"Like Tolstoy before her, and Natalia Ginzburg, Karen Joy Fowler understands that the only way to write about history is as clattery, complex dramas of ordinary people and their families--they become the stuff of history later. Booth is a subtly devastating meditation. . . . Its world--dense, granular, intricate--is created with immense care and precision, and rendered in prose of limpid, lyrical beauty. This is her finest, most beautiful novel to date." - Neel Mukherjee, author of A State of Freedom
"What an extraordinary story. What a family. Gripping, clever, and the central issue is alive and kicking today." - Sir Tom Courtenay