The product of a stormy upbringing in an Irish Catholic enclave of New York City, Eileen craves stability. Coming of age in the early Sixties, she meets and marries a young scientist named Edmund Leary.
But while Eileen wants more for her family, Ed won’t give up teaching for a better-paid job. Inadvertently Eileen starts to climb her own career ladder in nursing. She pushes Ed into finding a new home, but it becomes clear that his resistance is part of a deeply troubling psychological shift.
In this masterful debut, Matthew Thomas paints a sprawling, profoundly sympathetic portrait of a family coping with slow-burning tragedy. ‘We Are Not Ourselves’ is a grand testament to our deepest hopes and most human frailties.
Reviews of We Are Not Ourselves
‘Extraordinary … Intensely moving … ‘We Are Not Ourselves’ took 10 years to write, and justifies every one of them.’ Helen Dunmore, Guardian
‘Matthew Thomas’s ambitious first novel presents the life of one woman from cradle to late middle-age, and the changing backdrop of New York. Terrific’ The Times
‘An honest, intimate family story with the power to rock you to your core … One of the frankest novels ever written about love between a caregiver and a person with a degenerative disease … Thomas spares nothing and still makes it clear how deeply in love these soul mates are … [It] will reduce anyone who ever had a parent to helpless tears.’ New York Times
‘Unflinching and heartbreaking … The pain leaps from the page but so too does the love … epic in scale, subject and compassion … If Matthew Thomas writes nothing else, ‘We Are Not Ourselves’ will stand as a magnificent achievement.’ 5* review, Sunday Express
‘The greatest Alzheimer’s novel yet … Visionary and challenging … Marvellous.’ New Yorker
‘A powerfully moving book.’ Chad Harbach