New book coming from Karen Joy Fowler

23 March 2021

We are completely beside ourselves to be publishing Booth, Karen Joy Fowler’s first novel since the international phenomenon We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves!

Karen Joy Fowler’s 2014 novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves has sold 900,000 copies in the UK across all formats and was one of the bestselling novels of 2014. It was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize and won the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.  

Karen Joy Fowler said, ‘I’m thrilled to be working again with the wonderful team at Serpent’s Tail. They’ve been very patient as this book was a long time coming — current events continually drawing my attention away from historical ones. But those long ago issues remain relevant and the Booths proved a particularly useful lens through which to tell a story about family, fame, and the Civil War. Plus lots of Shakespeare.’

commissioning editor Rebecca Gray said, ‘How do you follow up the book of a lifetime? For Karen, the answer is by writing another masterpiece. This is an utterly different book to We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, but it’s just as imaginative, thought-provoking and resonant. It takes a story we think we know and turns it inside out, creating a novel that is historically and politically serious, and an absolute pleasure to read, too. The characters feel alive on the page, the setting is beautifully done, and once again Karen finds a voice that rises off the page. This is a deep dive into history that shows how Britain and the US have intertwined stories, and how the past casts long shadows into the present. When I began reading the book I wondered if it was her Wolf Hall, and by the end I knew that it was.’


Booth is the magisterial, vivid and tragic story of a family who changed the course of American history. Junius is a famous and charismatic English actor, and self-styled rival to Edmund Kean who thrills America with his renditions of Shakespeare, when he isn’t drunk and sinking the family ever further into debt. Growing up in nineteenth century rural Maryland, his children become intimately familiar with hardship, early death and the horrors of slavery. Of the six Booth siblings who survive to adulthood, each one has their own dreams they must fight to realise – but it is Johnny who makes the terrible decision that will ensure their names are known to this day.


Karen Joy Fowler is the author of seven previous novels including The Jane Austen Book Club and three short story collections. Her most recent novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014, won the PEN/Faulkner Prize 2014 and has sold over a million copies globally. She lives in California, USA.

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