We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel

Written by:
Matthew Thomas
Narrated by:
Mare Winningham

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
August 2014
21 hours 0 minutes
The instant New York Times bestseller The Washington Post calls a “stunning…superbly rendered” novel, and Entertainment Weekly describes as “a gripping family saga, maybe the best…since The Corrections.”

As an Irish immigrant in Queens in 1941, Eileen has dreamed of more in her life—but when she and her family seem to be moving closer to that dream, devastation hits and they must learn how to not only hold on to their reality, but to each other.

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 how much alcohol has been consumed. From an early age, Eileen wished that she lived somewhere else. She sets her sights on upper class Bronxville, New York, and an American Dream is born.

Driven by this longing, Eileen places her stock and love in Ed Leary, a handsome young scientist, and with him begins a family. Over the years Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house. It slowly becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper, more incomprehensive 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.

Described by The New York Times Book Review as “A long, gorgeous epic, full of love and caring…one of the best novels you’ll read this year,” We Are Not Ourselves is a testament to our greatest desires and our greatest frailties. Through the lives of these characters, Thomas charts the story of the American Century. The result is, “stunning…The joys of this book are the joys of any classic work of literature—for that is what this is destined to become—superbly rendered small moments that capture both an individual life and the universality of that person’s experience” (The Washington Post).
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Stephanie Lopez

Wow. I'm not really sure where to start with this book. I wish I was I writer myself because then, at least I'd be able to give it the review it deserves. I've never read a book that had so many emotions tied into one. The title of the book to me meant that we all seem to have an idea about what we think our life's should consist of and how we will live it but then circumstances take over. Suddenly everything isn't as it was intended. We aren't who we thought we were or even who we thought we would be. I can't wait until his second book comes out. He's brilliant. Okay now about Narrator.. I want to give her 10 stars. I sat back a few times wondering what it took her to tell this story the way she did. So much talent tied into this production. I am a full time student and work full time. It's hard to make space for reading. So the audio books really help me keep my sanity. I listening to this while doing my dishes, laundry, parking my car, taking out trash, running on treadmill, and anything else that permitted. This was one of those books you want to buy and give copies to all of your friends. It will be a classic for sure.

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Julie Ciaccia

If you don't like classics, this may not be your style because this book will definitely become a modern American classic. It is the story of a girl from childhood through her older years. She has alcoholic parents and in growing up in inner city New York. She would like to pursue higher learning but becomes a nurse due to her economic situation. She constantly is adjusting her "American dream" due to circumstances beyond her control. The writer has a remarkable ability to show us this woman at her best and worst, in the most realistic way. She didn't always make the best decisions like most of us don't. Her husband becomes ill with a protracted problem that she manages with more grace than anyone could imagine. The book brings so many major issues full circle in the last 2 hours that it makes your head spin. I listened to them over. I am going to buy the book so I can read those parts over and over, that is how powerful, beautiful, and incredible the very end of the book is. Whoever rated this book a 2 could not possibly have really finished it or read it completely. Altogether it is such a beautifully written work. The title means so much more once you finish.

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Brint Detwiler

I have heard this book described as a "slow boil" and I couldn't agree more. It is quite lengthy but that is part of the beauty of this work. You are almost "forced" to live the lives of this family as they navigate through their challenges, disappointments and yes, some triumphs as well. The book unfolds as real life does - in small seemingly mundane events that eventually deliver us to where we are which is usually not necessarily where we thought we would be. The writing is exceptional in its detail and when told by the narrator you can imagine precisely the scene being staged. When a feeling or emotion is described it is done with such perfection that you know exactly the nuance that is intended. One of the best books I have read in years. Highly recommended!!

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