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Book Rating (15)

Narrator Rating (8)

We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Matthew Thomas

Narrated By: Mare Winningham

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: August 2014

Duration: 20 hours 54 minutes

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 each other 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.

Genres:

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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.