If there is one thing that is obvious from Karen Joy Fowler’s work to date, it is that she likes books. The Jane Austen Book Club, for which she is chiefly known (it spent quite some time on the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into a movie in 2007) is an engagement with the modern romance genre as well as Austen’s novels. The Case of the Imaginary Detective, also published as Wit’s End, is a crime novel about crime novels. Sarah Canary, her first book, seems to change genre with each person who discusses it.
What I Didn’t See is a collection of Karen Joy Fowler’s short stories, the first such collection since 1997’s Black Glass. Most of the stories in this collection have been published elsewhere, with the oldest (“The Dark”) first published in 1991 and the most recent (“Halfway People”) in 2010. So it’s unsurprising that they don’t immediately form a unified collection. However, while it would be reductive to say that literature is Fowler’s subject, this is a frequently recurring thread that is useful to hang on to.