SHORTLISTED FOR THE JAMES TAIT BLACK PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD
NOMINATED FOR THE FOLIO PRIZE
NAMED A NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES
A stunning, heartbreaking debut – ‘We Are Not Ourselves’ is both the intimate story of a family and an epic of the American Century.
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