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Sister Noon by Karen Joy Fowler
  

Sister Noon

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An enticing and quite beguiling historical tale containing a strange but perfectly balanced blend of quirky fiction and political and social commentary. Set in San Francisco in the late 19th century you will find some of these characters are based on real historical figures, Mrs Pleasant actually existed and oh what a fascinating woman she was! The tale flutters through time and action without apparent links, then the strands join together like a gossamer web to make the story whole. If you’ve read ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ you may be expecting something slightly different to the little gem on offer here; originally published in 2001, it shows how versatile this author is… and her intelligence, wit and wordcraft is still plain to see. The joy of this novel is that it doesn't feel as though you are in the middle of a history lesson, it has a slightly fantastical feel to it, it reaches out and draws you in with a refreshing vitality all of its own. ~ Liz Robinson

If you like Karen Joy Fowler you might also like to read books by Elizabeth Noble, Eva Rice and Paula Cocozza.

The Good Pilot, Peter Woodhouse by Alexander Mccall Smith

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Synopsis

Sister Noon by Karen Joy Fowler

'Words were invented so lies could be told' Mary Ellen Pleasant San Francisco in the 1890s is a town of contradictions, home to a respectable middle class, but with the Wild West lingering in the imagination, and even the behaviour, of some residents. Lizzie Hayes, a seemingly docile, middle-aged spinster, is praised for her volunteer work with the Ladies' Relief and Protection Society Home, or the Brown Ark. She doesn't know it, but she's waiting for the spark that will liberate her from convention. When the wealthy and well-connected but ill-reputed Mary Ellen Pleasant shows up at the Brown Ark with an orphan in tow, Lizzie is drawn to them both. It is the beautiful Mrs Pleasant, object of suspicion because of her mysterious past and rumoured voodoo practise, who holds the key to freeing Lizzie's rebellious nature. Based on real historical figures, San Francisco in the gilded age is brought vibrantly to life in Karen Joy Fowler's entertaining, evocative and sinister novel.

Reviews

'Robust, sly, witty, elegant, unexpected' New York Times Book Review

'Fowler's language dazzles' San Francisco Chronicle

'In Sister Noon, Karen Joy Fowler recreates a lost world so thrillingly, with such intelligence, trickery and art, that when you at last put the book down and look up from the page it all seems to linger, shimmering, around you, like the residue of a marvellous dream' -- Michael Chabon

'Fowler's prose is full of shimmering melancholy, and a ruminative irony that brings her characters and their world alive in the most unexpected ways - reading Sister Noon is like staring at early portrait photographs until the eyes begin to shine and your head is filled with voices that urge you to recall that these vanished lives, and your own, are stranger than you allow. A dazzling book.' -- Jonathan Lethem

About the Author

Karen Joy Fowler

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. The Jane Austen Book Club spent thirteen weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was a New York Times Notable Book. Fowler’s previous novel, Sister Noon, was a finalist for the 2001 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Her debut novel, Sarah Canary, was a New York Times Notable Book, as was her second novel, The Sweetheart Season. In addition, Sarah Canary won the Commonwealth medal for best first novel by a Californian, and was listed for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize as well as the Bay Area Book Reviewers Prize. Fowler’s short story collection Black Glass won the World Fantasy Award in 1999, and her collection What I Didn’t See won the World Fantasy Award in 2011. Fowler and her husband, who have two grown children and five grandchildren, live in Santa Cruz, California.

She is the co-founder of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award and the current president of theClarion Foundation (also known as Clarion San Diego).

Author Photo © Brett Hall

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Book Info

Publication date

14th May 2015

Author

Karen Joy Fowler

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Author's Website

karenjoyfowler.com/

Publisher

Serpent's Tail an imprint of Profile Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
304 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781781255490

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