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Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

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Longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize

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, 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.

REVIEWS

"Fowler’s riveting saga explores these strains of familial devotion and sorrow connecting the colorful Booth brothers and sisters." Washington Post

"Fate, history, and chance collide in Karen Joy Fowler’s riveting historical novel. . . . What elevates Booth is the granular texture of what’s beneath the bald facts: the how and the myriad whats and whys, the truths. And there is also Fowler’s trademark dark humor. . . . A massive achievement. In it, Fowler weaves history, family culture, and human cruelties into an insightful reckoning of a past that seems too much a prologue to our American present." Boston Globe

"
Booth doesn’t hold anyone in judgment; like all the best literature, it seeks to better understand the human heart in all its flawed complexity. It’s a haunting book, not just for all its literal ghosts, but for its suggestion that those ghosts still have not been exorcised from this country.” USA Today

PRODUCT DETAILS
Trade paperback
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN: 978-0593331439
Pages: 480