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We Are Not Ourselves | [Matthew Thomas]

We Are Not Ourselves

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 one another 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.

©2014 Matthew Thomas (P)2014 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (89 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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3.7 (78 )
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Story
4.0 (81 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jean 09-14-14
    Jean 09-14-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    "A very enjoyable book."
    What made the experience of listening to We Are Not Ourselves the most enjoyable?

    The wonderful writing.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author's writing, The language the writer used to weave the story was unbelievably beautiful and touching. Even the most mundane activity was described in a fascinating way.


    Have you listened to any of Mare Winningham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but her melodic performance brought out the writing in a beautiful way.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Our story will help you find who we should be, just as it did for us.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't wait to read another book by Matthew Thomas.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth Carrollton, TX, United States 08-25-14
    Kenneth Carrollton, TX, United States 08-25-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    27
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    1
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    "Outstanding Novel about a difficult subject"
    If you could sum up We Are Not Ourselves in three words, what would they be?

    empathy, sadness, reality


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Eileen, because she was the energy of the three generations. She was the glue that connected her father to herself and to her son to become a teacher whhile managing a 51 year with Alzheimer's disease.


    Have you listened to any of Mare Winningham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    First one.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Ed's letter written to his son when he first learned about the disease not to be given to him until after his death.


    Any additional comments?

    The book was very good, but for me would have been just as effective without the sexual references. We all know about those and don't need the distraction. It is the only thing that might keep this book from being a Pulitzer.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dorothy Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-19-14
    Dorothy Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-19-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Masterfully written. Not to be missed."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. This book is disturbing, riveting, insightful, and will leave you pondering in the aftermath. It's unique - beautiful literature, character development, everything you'd expect in a good old fashioned classic novel, yet written by a young man.
    Probably the best of 2014.


    What other book might you compare We Are Not Ourselves to and why?

    Mary Coin, Someone, Maine


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mare Winningham?

    Yes, but too many narrators have adopted the habit of placing the emphasis on the end of each sentence instead of reading it the way it was intended. It sometimes alters the meaning. She has a lovely voice but this book merits perfection. It's not enough to be facile with accents.


    Who was the most memorable character of We Are Not Ourselves and why?

    Eileen Leary, yet all the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    This may become a classic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Mill Valley, CA, United States 10-14-14
    Eric Mill Valley, CA, United States 10-14-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
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    "TIRESOME"
    What disappointed you about We Are Not Ourselves?

    This was well reviewed but I don't get what the critics liked about it. Narrow-minded people with narrow-minded lives simplistically described. Literary language? Hardly.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    An Unnecessary Woman


    What about Mare Winningham’s performance did you like?

    I think this was my first Mare Winningham and I liked everything about her performance. She made the best of a tiresome book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vallerie 10-04-14
    Vallerie 10-04-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Slow Read"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    There isn't anything I would change.


    Has We Are Not Ourselves turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes, it is a story told well. However it is just not my taste.


    What three words best describe Mare Winningham’s voice?

    She was amazing. I enjoyed listening to her


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably not


    Any additional comments?

    Very slow read. It just kept going on and it was written very well, but boring

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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