Wit s End The author of The Jane Austen Book Club presents another highly inventive novel one that ensnares readers in cunning deceptions challenging them to separate the truth from fiction

  • Title: Wit's End
  • Author: Karen Joy Fowler
  • ISBN: 9780399154751
  • Page: 125
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The author of The Jane Austen Book Club presents another highly inventive novel one that ensnares readers in cunning deceptions, challenging them to separate the truth from fiction.

    • Wit's End : Karen Joy Fowler
      125 Karen Joy Fowler
    • thumbnail Title: Wit's End : Karen Joy Fowler
      Posted by:Karen Joy Fowler
      Published :2019-04-02T20:38:22+00:00

    About "Karen Joy Fowler"

    1. Karen Joy Fowler

      I was born in Bloomington, Indiana I was due on Valentine s Day but arrived a week early my mother blamed this on a really exciting IU basketball game My father was a psychologist at the University, but not that kind of psychologist He studied animal behavior, and especially learning He ran rats through mazes My mother was a polio survivor, a schoolteacher, and a pioneer in the co operative nursery school movement Along with basketball, my family loved books The day I got my first library card there was a special dinner to celebrate And before I could read myself, I remember my father reading The Iliad to me, although really he was reading it to my older brother, I just got to be there A shocking book And I remember Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh in my father s voice and a bunch of other things that weren t movies yet My parents strongly disapproved of the Disney version of things Pooh believed in a spoonful of honey, but Mary Poppins did not.I have great memories of Bloomington Our block was packed with kids and we played enormous games that covered whole blocks of territory, with ten kids to a side One of my childhood friends was Theodore Deppe, who s now an outstanding poet I planned to grow up to be a dog trainer myself.Both my parents were raised in southern California and so regarded our time in Indiana as an exile When I was 11 years old my father was offered a job with Encyclopedia Britannica that necessitated our moving to Palo Alto, California My parents were thrilled to be coming back My older brother, for reasons that escape me, was equally pleased I was devastated.Palo Alto was much sophisticated than Bloomington At recess in Bloomington we played baseball, skipped rope, played jacks or marbles depending on the season In Palo Alto girls my age were already setting their hair, listening to the radio, talking about boys I considered it a sad trade The best thing about the sixth grade was that my teacher, Miss Sarzin, read The Hobbit to us.After reading many books, I graduated from Palo Alto High in 1968 and went to Berkeley I was a political science major and an antiwar activist I was in Berkeley during People s Park, when the city was occupied and there were tanks on the street corners, and I was there during the Jackson State Kent State killings I met my husband there He d been part of the free speech movement that was my idea of glamor We got married the year I graduated and we came to graduate school at UC Davis together.As an undergraduate I had a special interest in India and Gandhi, and a general interest in imperialism I find the intersection of cultures fascinating, the misunderstandings that occur, the mistakes that are innocently made I m not so fascinated by the mistakes that aren t innocent, although there are a good many of the latter kind As a graduate student I focused on China and Japan It s not clear to me what my career goals were whatever, I had my first child during spring break of the last year of my masters Six days less than two years later I had a second child My husband and I still live in Davis, although the kids have left for college and beyond.I decided to try to be a writer on my 30th birthday.All questions answered

    674 thoughts on “Wit's End”

    1. Preface: I won this through a Readinggroupguides contest. I have read The Jane Austen Book Club, which was also set in the Norcal area, so I'm right at home with that.Update: Just because you get a book for free does not mean you should read it. There was no point or direction to this book. The storyline was very scattered, none of the characters were developed enough to like or emphathize with them, and it was peppered with unnecessary profanity and moral issues that came from left field. The t [...]


    2. I bought this book in the UK; I prefer the US title, "Wit's End," as it is a more accurate indication of the book's themes and content.The UK jacket copy made the book sound like a lighthearted romp with a fictional detective come to life to help the heroine. Instead, the book is a rumination on grief, the creative process, and just who "owns" a creative work once it is accessible by the public. Does it belong to the author? To the fan? To the real life people & events on whom the fictional [...]


    3. What the heck is this book about? It reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld's description of his sitcom. This is a book about nothing. When you are finished with this book, you don't know any more about the characters that you did before you started it. I read this book on a bus trip to Milwaukee. If I had not been trapped on the bus with it, I would have quit half-way through. I would not recommed this book to anyone.I have not read Fowler's "The Jane Austen Book Club" and am not likely to after reading [...]


    4. I like meta-books, books about books and writers and readers and how stories influence our lives. As someone who spends what, I admit, is probably an inordinate amount of time reading, reading about books is important and informative. Wit’s End is metafiction about mystery. Rima’s godmother, Addison Early, is a successful Agatha Christie—like mystery writer. Rima comes to stay with Addison at Wit’s End, Addison’s little refuge from the world in Santa Cruz. Cut off from the rest of the [...]


    5. What a letdown! The description sounded so interesting - A young woman, Rima, who is suffering after the deaths, one after another, of her immediate family members, is invited to move in with her godmother who happens to be a world famous mystery writer. The writer lives in a beachfront estate in Santa Cruz, California, called "Wit's End" which was built years ago by a surviving member of the Donner party who is said to haunt the grounds. The writer is a little eccentric - she builds dioramas of [...]


    6. The best part of this novel is the author's wit. Fowler, as many reviewers note, really does have a wonderful voice. Her character insights, asides, ruminations--all are engaging and interesting. The whole of Wit's End, however, is not as good as the sum of its parts. With so many odd and fascinating side stories: grief, loss, obsessive fan adoration, theft of artistic ownership, cults, mystery novels, mysterious letters, mysteries within mysteries not to mention complicated and fascinating char [...]


    7. Now this is a really fun book for the modern, Net-savvy reader. I don't think I've ever heard fanfiction discussed more accurately in a book before (or ever discussed period!), and I love the varying attitudes on it from the author to the rabid fangirl to the innocent net surfer who accidentally stumbles onto a slashy one--SO much fun!I read in a professional review somewhere that this book feels "up to the minute fresh," and that is really an excellent way to put it. Blogging, forums, Dubbya's [...]


    8. I'm giving this one three stars, although 2 1/2 would be more accurate. Though Fowler is tremendously good at setting and details, as well as introducing quirky characters, that didn't make up for the "plot", such that there is.We start with the protagonist, Rima Lanisell, arriving at the Santa Cruz, CA home of her godmother Addison Early, famous (think: Stephen King famous) author of a serious of mystery/thrillers featuring the character Maxwell Lane, and antagonist Bim Lanisell (Bin Laden?), s [...]


    9. The author of The Jane Austen Book Club has struck again--delightfully. This book is not a mystery but it IS about a mystery writer, her goddaughter, and some mysterious past events. There are multiple story lines in this book,including highly imaginative plots for the books written by Addison (though, despite attempts throughout the book by many, not a clue about what the new book is about until the very, very, very end). It's a tad confusing at timessince Addison has a tendency to use "real" p [...]


    10. Reading this book made me wonder why Jonathan Lethem, Junot Diaz and the other fan boys get all the credit for playing with genre. Karen Joy Fowler's meta-mystery, about a woman trying to decipher the relationships between her family and a famous murder mystery writer, has just as many layers and asks just as many big philosophical questions. Set in a Santa Cruz populated by cults and clowns and 12-stepper housekeepers, the book is as colorful as any traditional mystery. By adding plot lines tha [...]


    11. I really liked it yet there is no discernible reason that I did. There is no concrete aspect that I loved. I didn't love the characters, I didn't love the beginning, middle and end of the story (oh, because there wasn't one!) But I loved it as a whole all the same.It was very current. In a way that I've never experienced in a novel. There were constant cultural references that were very now polar bears on LOST for example, crazy fan-fic and website forums of fans. I never understood the mystery, [...]


    12. 4.5 starsI think, unfortunately, that this book is misreprented by the tag line on the cover and the publisher description; both those seem to promise an overarching mystery, a sinister encroachment of the both the past and of an author's fans.What it actually is - and succeeds quite well at - is the first person narrative of a woman without roots trying to find some purpose. Rima struggles with grief, tries to figure out the puzzle of her father's life, tries both to connect and to avoid connec [...]


    13. Too much , not enough story. I thought that all of the "themes" were a great set-up: the dollhouses, the Maxwell Lane stories, etc. "Ice City" the mental place with an imagined geography, inside a fictional world, was the best thing I got out of it. But Ice City was a very small part. Did I miss something bigger because I listened to it? Also, I just have something against people spending too much time on their computers in novels (unless its SF). I asked myself about this, and telephones are ok [...]


    14. I barely know what happened in this book. It's haphazard and directionless. I was unsure of what mystery we were trying to solve, and the resolution didn't clear it up. There were baffling extraneous stories and details that made me wonder if this book ever made it into the hands of an editor. Disappointing because I really enjoyed her novel "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves".


    15. I found this book wandering, confusing, and lacking in purpose and cohesiveness. It seems like it is trying to be clever but it does this by obscuring things and making them intentionally confusing. Rather than unfolding like an onion or even being revealed like a jigsaw puzzle, it makes things muddy then stirs them and eventually replaces them with something clearer. Very unsatisfying.


    16. The Jane Austen Book Club could not have been better designed or timed. Karen Joy Fowler's fourth novel appeared in 2004 at the intersection of two massive forces in American publishing: women's book clubs and the Austen revival. With its sharp wit and clever allusions to Emma et al the story rotated through a year's worth of meetings involving six members of a book club in California. If the plot was a little slow and tenuous, well, nobody minded because Fowler's portrayal of reading-group dyna [...]


    17. After Rima Lanisell's father dies, she goes to stay with her godmother, Addison Early. Addison is a hugely successful crime fiction writer and was a close friend of Rima's father. However, she is very private and Rima struggles to understand the history of Addison and her father while she figures out her place and purpose in the world. Fowler's books are fun and the characters are quirky. This was an easy and engaging read.


    18. I rated this a 5 as a reaction to all the low ratings, I think It's witty, fey and clever with two dachshunds -- Berkeley and Stanford -- that almost had me laughing out loud.I think the low ratings came from people who were expecting a standard cookie-cutter whodunit instead of charm. I'd heard of Holy City near Santa Cruz before -- when we lived in California -- and had spent time along the coast so appreciate descriptions of fog and the seaside.Our heroine, Rima, is thrice bereaved and visits [...]


    19. It's hard to say exactly what kept me reading this. I did like the main character, Rima, a lonely and emotionally fragile woman who visits her grandmother the house of her godmother, named "Wit's End," in Santa Cruz California. The godmother, Addison, is a famous mystery writer. I admired the book's intent, which was to blend the fictional and the real by bringing Addison's characters into the present-day action. Ultimately, however, I found all the twists and turns of the plot too difficult to [...]


    20. Critical reception of Wit's End ran the full gamut. Like The Jane Austen Book Club, the novel should appeal to lovers of mystery books and to readers who enjoy pondering the relationship between characters, their creators, and their fan bases. Yet while these critics couldn't put the book down, others panned it. Pop culture references, such as the Internet Wiki-wars (where fans analyze Maxwell Lane's life), perhaps make up for what some critics described as relatively insipid characters and myst [...]


    21. This is one of those books that I read and finish and then forget with that curious brand of immediate reader amnesia I sometimes get, which is what caused me to start writing reviews in the first place. The amnesia is a pity, because I'm pretty sure I found it frequently charming. Paging through it again now, I recall enough to say that the writing is strong but the characterization didn't spark my interest. The premise is good, the setting exquisitely drawn, and the moods captured wittily and [...]


    22. 3.5 stars, if that were an option. This was generally a bit of a nothingburger but for some reason I enjoyed it anyway. The writing was really witty and charming, which made up for the lack of plot. It kept me nicely occupied while I was flying solo this weekend.


    23. A friend passed this on knowing I read Jane Austen Book Club. I think this had the potential to be good with the plot ideas, but the implementation was not so good. Even once things were revealed they were confusing and unsatisfying.


    24. This book is fun. I think it succeeds on the fun level more than on the serious level--even though it takes up some VERY serious themes in the lives of characters at times, I stayed detached from them overall. Or they stayed detached from me.It's the concept that's really fun & fascinating.


    25. Very sly book-within-a-book mystery – reminds me of Jasper Ffjorde’s books. Extremely well done but not all that fun because nobody to root for and everybody kind of glum.


    26. The original title for this book is Wit's End, which is more appropriate for the characters and where they find themselves in life. The prose is sparkling and witty with enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested. I suspect this book is written more in the style of the Jane Austen Book Club as it's not as dark as We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I found the concept of the "murder scene dollhouses" as representations of the mystery writer's books wonderfully novel and funny. Thi [...]


    27. I became a fan of Fowler after reading The Jane Austen Book club and then meeting her at a writer's conference. This book fell so short of my expectations. I listened to it on audio, so perhaps my judgment is not fair, but it so totally confused me with its lengthy list of characters, subplots and, I think, even genres. I usually listen to audios twice (during long road trips) since I am more visually oriented, but I don't want to try this again. I can live with not know what the heck really hap [...]


    28. I must have gone the wrong way in the Karen Joy Fowler timeline. The reason I picked this book up was because of a later book by her called “We are completely beside ourselves.” Which I can safely say made my top 3 favorite books (pro tip: don’t read the description; just read. You will be pleasantly surprised). Anyways, this book didn’t have the same tone, nor is it as inventive. Total letdown.


    29. I loved the characters and the writing like THIS:'Tilda told stories too, and she was terrible. She always left out some crucial piece and had to go back and add it later. "Did I say he was blind?" "Did I tell you they were identical twins?" "Did I say they were on horseback?" 'and I loved the plot device involving dollhouses.But I wanted more to happen.


    30. This followed the surprise runaway success of The Jane Austen Book Club, and it just doesn't work. It's based on some known characters of Santa Cruz, where Fowler lives, and its premise is interesting, but the book just doesn't come together. You can always enjoy Fowler for her sentences, and the off-trail ways she moves stories forward; but this one is for completists like me.


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