We Are Not Ourselves (Compact Disc)
September 2014 Indie Next List
“This is simply the most perfect, brilliantly written novel I have read in a long time! Suspenseful, full of heartwarming moments of lightness and love intertwined with dark moments of foreboding, it is the story of a marriage, a family, and the struggle to attain the American Dream. Most of all, it is the story of Eileen Leary, the daughter of Irish immigrants, and her unwavering strength, love, loyalty, and hopes for herself, her husband, Ed, and their son, Connell. The novel spans from 1951 to 2011 and is set primarily in New York, but the unexpected tragedy that befalls the Learys could happen in any town in any country. Immensely moving and thought-provoking!”
— Maria Roden, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA
Destined to be a classic, this "powerfully moving" (Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding), multigenerational debut novel of an Irish-American family is nothing short of a "masterwork." (Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End). Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed. When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she's found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesn't aspire to the same, ever bigger, stakes in the American Dream. Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house, but as years pass it becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future. Through the Learys, novelist Matthew Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured hearts and minds after WWII. The result is a riveting and affecting work of art; one that reminds us that life is more than a tally of victories and defeats, that we live to love and be loved, and that we should tell each other so before the moment slips away. Epic in scope, heroic in character, masterful in prose, We Are Not Ourselves heralds the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction.