Karen Joy Fowler. Sarah Canary. 1991

Karen Joy Fowler. Sarah Canary. New York: Henry Holt, 1991

Sarah Canary is a first contact tale set in late nineteenth-century America. A strange, badly dressed white woman, with “skin poreless and polished,” shining like porcelain, appears near an itinerant railway workers’ camp in the woods of Washington. No one, not even a polyglot Chinese man, can understand her speech. She is confined to an asylum. “As an emblem of the enigma behind the idea of first contact she is perhaps definitive. As a dramatization of the self-deluding imperialisms of knowledge, Sarah Canary is equally convincing” (SFE). Fowler is also author of The Jane Austen Book Club (2004).

No. 55.