The Resource We are not ourselves : a novel, Matthew Thomas

We are not ourselves : a novel, Matthew Thomas

Label
We are not ourselves : a novel
Title
We are not ourselves
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Matthew Thomas
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"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. Eileen can't help but dream of a calmer life, in a better neighborhood. 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 powerfully 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 is a testament to our greatest desires and our greatest frailties."--
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
New York Times Notable Book, 2014
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ In his powerful and significant debut novel, Thomas masterfully evokes one woman’s life in the context of a brilliantly observed Irish working-class milieu. Eileen Tumulty was born in the early ’40s, the only child and dutiful caretaker of alcoholic parents. As a young woman, she hopes to leave her family’s dingy apartment in Woodside, Queens, and move up the social ladder. Eileen falls in love with and marries Ed Leary, a quiet neuroscientist whom she sees as the means to an upper-middle-class future. But Ed is dedicated to pure scientific research, and he turns down lucrative job offers from pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. The couple’s apartment in Jackson Heights is a step up from Eileen’s parents’ apartment, but she wants a home in tony Westchester County. Later, Eileen pursues an arduous career as a nursing administrator to secure a future for their son, Connell. But once she gets her gracious but dilapidated fixer-upper in Bronxville, in southern Westchester, Ed is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and the family slowly endures “the encroaching of a fathomless darkness.” Thomas works on a large canvas to create a memorable depiction of Eileen’s vibrant spirit, the intimacy of her love for Ed, and the desperate stoicism she exhibits as reality narrows her dreams. Her life, observed over a span of six decades, comes close to a definitive portrait of American social dynamics in the 20th century. Thomas’s emotional truthfulness combines with the novel’s texture and scope to create an unforgettable narrative. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed April 21, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 16, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ This epic and emotionally draining novel is centered on the life of Eileen Tumulty who lives in Queens, NY, in the mid-20th century. An only child of Irish parents, Eileen is smart and ambitious and looking for a better life for herself. She's moving ahead in her career in nursing when she meets and marries Ed Leary, a PhD student in neurochemistry who decides he will teach at a community college despite more lucrative and prestigious offers. As years go by and the neighborhood changes, Eileen is desperate to move from their multiple-family home to the suburbs, but the entrenched and increasingly eccentric Ed is adamant about staying put. The house they finally move to is beyond their means and needs work, and though Ed has the skills, it soon becomes apparent that the project is beyond him. A doctor's visit reveals deeper trouble that presages Ed's long, slow, painful decline. VERDICT The debut author has created a memorable character in Eileen, who is both intelligent and clueless, focusing on her ideals and fantasies and attempting vainly to make reality conform to her aspirations. The depiction of Ed's illness is realistic, powerful, artistically delivered, and occasionally humorous, and readers will be drawn in. [See Prepub Alert, 3/3/14; see also Thomas's address to librarians at an S. & S. Adult Librarian Preview, p. 90.]— James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib. --James Coan (Reviewed August 1, 2014) (Library Journal, vol 139, issue 13, p92)
  • An Irish-American family in New York City pursues simple dreams in a long and only partially satisfying first novel.Thomas' debut opens promisingly with the outsize character of Big Mike Tumulty, an Irish immigrant and bar-stool sage possessed of "a terrible charisma." The humor and brisk pace of this well-drawn section too rarely recur in the many dry, dour pages that follow. Mike's daughter and the book's heroine, Eileen, arrives in 1941 and grows up in a household where affection and money are scarce. She pursues a nursing career, marries a teacher named Ed Leary and has a son, Connell. Eileen is driven to improve their housing, from rented rooms in a multifamily Queens home to owning that home and finally the big move to the costly suburb of Bronxville. Only a few pages later, at the book's midpoint, they learn that Ed, at 51, has early-onset Alzheimer's, "the most virulent kind….It dismantles motor functions and speech as it erases the memory." Thomas, who has relied to this point on thinly linked vignettes, is most effective in the sustained picture of Ed's terrible decline and Eileen's fierce struggle to maintain his dignity and her control. And a story almost painfully confined to the family trio now acquires a couple of colorful characters in a healer who speaks through the spirit Vywamus and a hired man named Sergei who offers strength and the chance of new passion.Despite its epic size and aspirations, the novel is underpopulated and often underwritten, a quality that does make its richer moments stand out while stoking the appetite for more of those in fewer pages.(Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2014)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10298727
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1975-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Thomas, Matthew
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
index present
LC call number
PS3620.H63513
LC item number
W4 2014
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Irish Americans
  • FICTION / Literary
  • FICTION / Sagas
  • FICTION / General
  • Ireland
  • Queens (New York, N.Y.)
Label
We are not ourselves : a novel, Matthew Thomas
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
unspecified
Carrier category code
  • zu
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1032589
Extent
page cm
Isbn
9781476756660
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2013044414
Media category
unspecified
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • z
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781476756660
  • (OCoLC)862348423
Label
We are not ourselves : a novel, Matthew Thomas
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
unspecified
Carrier category code
  • zu
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1032589
Extent
page cm
Isbn
9781476756660
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2013044414
Media category
unspecified
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • z
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781476756660
  • (OCoLC)862348423

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