Excerpt from Booth by Karen Joy Fowler, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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by Karen Joy Fowler

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler X
Booth by Karen Joy Fowler
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2022, 480 pages

    Feb 7, 2023, 480 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Do you want to hear about you?" she asks him. He does. It's his favorite story.

"On the night you were born," she says, "Father was in New York being Richard III."

Rosalie remembers it as a terrifying night, but that's not the way she tells it. She skips the difficulties of the birth, Mother's agony, the moment the midwife told June to ride for the doctor. She skips the icy ground and her fear that June was riding too fast and the horse would lose her footing, or not fast enough and the doctor would arrive too late. Mother had had six other children and never needed the doctor before.

Rosalie tells Edwin instead that there was a shower of stars that night, lasting more than an hour. How, just as June was leaving, a great meteor exploded over Baltimore – Rosalie throws open her hands to show the explosion – and June rode on while the sky above him rained down stars.

She says that Edwin is the family's seventh child and that he arrived with his caul still over his face. The caul has been saved in a small box in her mother's cupboard. It has the feel of a well-worn handkerchief. Edwin has been shown this, but he won't be allowed to touch it until he is older.

All these things, Rosalie says, – the stars, the caul, the number seven – they mark Edwin as extraordinary. "This child will see ghosts," the midwife had said when the doctor had gone and she was again in charge. "He will never drown. Men everywhere will know his name." She took Edwin and swaddled him more tightly. There was something reverential, ceremonial, in the way she handed him back.

Before, Rosalie has always left out the part about seeing ghosts.

Today she forgets. She feels Edwin stiffen at this news. So far, he's shown no evidence of greatness. He's an inactive, fragile, anxious boy.

The ten-year-gap between Rosalie and Edwin is where all the dead children are.

Excerpted from Booth by Karen Joy Fowler. Copyright © 2022 by Karen Joy Fowler. Excerpted by permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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