Simon & Schuster Releases Debut Author Matthew Thomas's WE ARE NOT OURSELVES
Matthew Thomas's novel about Alzheimer's was born of personal experience and extreme financial sacrifice. He had never published anything before We Are Not Ourselves, the book he devoted 10 years of his life to writing while working as a high-school English teacher. last year when his book was auctioned for $1 million and then in May it was featured as one of the Buzz Books for 2014 at Book Expo America.
At the Book Expo, Marysue Rucci, editor-in-chief of the book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, portrayed We Are Not Ourselves as a multi-generational story and breathlessly described Thomas's writing. At the end of the presentation, those who had heard her speak rushed to grab the advance readers copies. rushed to the front of the room to grab advance reader's copies, stacked on a table there.
Though the title foreshadows it, readers learn only gradually that one of the main characters has Alzheimer's. The book's description is as follows:
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.