Trova il tuo prossimo audiolibro preferito

Abbonati oggi e ascolta gratis per 30 giorni
We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel

We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel

Scritto da Matthew Thomas

Narrato da Mare Winningham


We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel

Scritto da Matthew Thomas

Narrato da Mare Winningham

valutazioni:
3.5/5 (31 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
20 ore
Pubblicato:
Aug 19, 2014
ISBN:
9781442369993
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Descrizione

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.
Pubblicato:
Aug 19, 2014
ISBN:
9781442369993
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Matthew Thomas was born in the Bronx and grew up in Queens. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he has an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His New York Times bestselling novel We Are Not Ourselves has been shortlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. He lives with his wife and twin children in New Jersey.


Correlato a We Are Not Ourselves

Audiolibri correlati
Articoli correlati

Recensioni

Cosa pensano gli utenti di We Are Not Ourselves

3.5
31 valutazioni / 78 Recensioni
Cosa ne pensi?
Valutazione: 0 su 5 stelle

Recensioni dei lettori

  • (1/5)
    I don’t like reviewing a book I didn’t finish, but since it’s an early reviewer book, review I must. I managed to get through 181 pages of this 640 page tome before finally deciding to release myself from it. I found it to be overly long, tedious, and repetitive. Eye-rollingly so. I didn't care about the characters or what happened to them. Perhaps the remaining 459 pages improve, but I’ll never know.
  • (4/5)
    I received this book as a galley copy early reviewer book from the publisher. I had heard good things about it in various journals so was very excited to read it. Although it was a good book and quite well written, it just didn't hit a chord with me as much as I'd hoped it would. I'm not sure why actually. It might have been that I found it about 200 pages too long. It also might have been that I have read Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler and this book suffers somewhat by comparison. I truly loved Barney's Version and it remains one of my special favourites. In this book Mr. Thomas takes on the very difficult task of depicting a family trying to cope with a family member who has Alzheimer's Disease. The Leary family consists of the husband Ed who is a college science professor, his wife Eileen who is a nurse and their son Connell. They live in New York City. The book covers the years from mid to the end of the 20 century. Mr. Thomas is very skilled at character development - so much so that he allows you to see his characters with all their flaws exposed. That sometimes makes for uncomfortable reading as I found myself sometimes getting exasperated with Eileen. This character craftsmanship is why I have given this book 4 out of 5 stars because it's quite remarkable how well Mr. Thomas does this considering this is a debut novel for him. He also writes as if he is someone who is very familiar with Alzheimer's disease and the terrible toll it takes on families and sufferers alike. This book is heartbreaking in so many ways as we watch Eileen trying to keep her family together while this disease begins to take it's appalling and inexorable toll on her, her son and her friends. No one is left unscathed while Alzheimer's wreaks havoc in a family. A difficult book to read, but one that is worth the journey because of the craftsmanship of the writing.
  • (4/5)
    I received a digital version of this novel from the publisher, Simon and Schuster, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!This debut novel is a very long read (about 600 pages) and spans several decades starting in the 1950s. The protagonist is Eileen of Irish-American ancestry. The first third of the novel is about her childhood and coming-of-age. Her upbringing by an alcoholic mother and a gambling father is sad but she is determined to make something of herself.Eileen has the desire and ambition to better herself, move up in life, and live in a nice home/neighborhood but soon realizes her scientist/professor husband has no such desires. While they love each other very much, they are worlds apart in what they want out of life. Eileen and other main characters are very well-developed but I felt there were too many minor characters and, at times, the story stalled as scenes played out too long.During the last one-third, the story picks up speed when a devastating disease wrecks havoc with many lives. I found it to be heartbreaking because I have volunteered to help and care for people suffering from this complicated disease. Due to thorough research, Mr. Thomas' description of the progression of the disease was right on. He is a talented writer and I think he will be a successful one.
  • (3/5)
    I am so conflicted about this book. The writing was extraordinarily good however it was a book I struggled to finish. Perhaps it was just too much, too long, too everything.
  • (3/5)
    I received this book as an Early Reviewer copy. If I was to believe the letter that came with the book from the publisherand the glowing review from The New York Times Book section I would have thought this book the next best sellerbeach book movie event to visit the year 2014! MEH!While I give praise to the wonderful writing that did an excellent job of propelling me forward with the story andthe interior life of the characters it is the story line that I have the big problem with. For most of us in the adult worldlife is about 95% boring. If I had been a fly on the wall for Eileen Leary's life I would have died before my time ofboredom. That's just it. Nothing much happened except the long,long descent of her husband into debilitatingillness and the effects it has on Eileen,her son and their circle of friends. This is the main meat of the book.I guess because I am of an age when I have lived through the aging decline of my own parents and my husband'splus details of friend's parents downward spiral I just did not really want to be reliving all the horrible details.It would have been nice to know the details of Eileen's life as a fairly young middle aged widow and to see somelightness enter into it. No! the last chapters were just run on,boring interior thoughts of her son. Like so many oneand two star reviews on Amazon.com I kept hoping the book would pick up but it never did. I only finished it as I takemy responsibility of reading the whole book seriously as an early reviewer.
  • (3/5)
    Would have benefited from a good editor.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent, a very moving book and well read. I really enjoyed it
  • (2/5)
    Couldn't finish the book. Though the prose was nice, it was long with some details that were unnecessary. It also felt like I was reading one story, than 100 pages in it was a different story, than 100 pages later it became a different story. The audience isn't introduced to the main conflict until 1/3 of the way through the book (and with a book length of 600 pages, or 20 hours of audiobook, is a long time). Perhaps with more editing, I would have enjoyed it, but this wasn't for me.
  • (4/5)
    family saga about husband with early onset Alzheimer. good sections. can be slow. not as deep as I would like, but good on the topic
  • (4/5)
    A huge family story that really drew me in. It is real and uncompromising as we see love in all it's many forms. Eileen and her husband Ed and their son Connell and how they all deal with their lives once Alzheimer rears it's ugly head. But before even that it is a story of a woman who wants so mcuh for herlsef, her husband and son and you know, it's not quite what they want for themselves. As Eileen works so hard to move from Jackson Heights to an Upper middle class neighborhood convinced this will solve all her problems, I worried for her that it would not. But she carries on always determined. As i read in an review, it's a novel of the striving classes.But it's also a novel on family and the power of love.
  • (4/5)
    This book was chosen by my library book club to read for December 2016. I had not heard about this book before it appeared on the list although some reviewers say it is destined to be a classic. I think that is a case of hyperbole. I found it to be a rather overblown saga of one family's journey through the middle class driven by the mother's desire to better herself.Eileen Leary grew up in a poor section of New York City as the only child of two Irish immigrants. Both her parents drank to excess and her mother was pushed into alcoholism by a miscarriage. She managed to get into nursing school and then went to university for a bachelor's and master's degree. She wasn't much interested in the men in her neighbourhood but when a friend introduced her to Ed, a man with a background similar to hers but who had managed to get a Ph. D. in neurochemistry, she was smitten. They married and both continued to work. It took quite a while for Eileen to conceive but when their son Connell was born she wanted the best of everything for him. In particular she wanted to move to a better neighbourhood but Ed was opposed. He was also acting rather strangely, listening for hours to his classical record collection on headphones and sometimes lashing out in anger. Eileen went ahead and looked for a new house. She finally found one they could just afford but that needed lots of work. Ed capitulated to the move and he threw himself into renovations but had difficulty completing projects. Eventually Eileen took him to her doctor who then referred them to a specialist in neurological diseases. The diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease didn't come as a surprise to Ed who had been fearing this for quite a while. His inevitable decline meant he had to give up teaching and researching and family finances were strained. Eileen was determined to keep the house and put Connell through university and care for Ed at home. She managed to do this for quite some time but her own health suffered. The time came when Ed had to be put in a home. Eileen visited every day after work. Connell, who was in Chicago for university, didn't see the day to day changes and didn't realize how bad Ed had gotten. When he came home for Christmas he decided to bring his father home for the big Christmas party his mother was hosting. It was the last time his father left the care home. Death followed swiftly and Connell was particularly affected by guilt. There is a good story in this book somewhere. Early-onset Alzheimer's Disease is a particularly tragic variant of dementia. Unfortunately, too many extraneous details were worked in which diminished my interest in the outcome. Did we really need to know about Eileen's involvement with a spiritual healer? I didn't think it added anything to the storyline. Similarly her purchase of a mink coat. Instead it made me think less of Eileen. I suppose the author wanted to portray a woman and a family with all their flaws dealing with a tragedy but to me I just got weighted down by the details. This is the author's first novel but he has taken further education in writing. From his website I learned that his father died of early-onset AD. I think he was probably working a lot of things out about his relationship with his father when he wrote this and to him details were important. But not to me, or at least not in the multitude he included. A far better portrayal of the disease and issues can be found in Still Alice by Lisa Genova.
  • (4/5)
    Points for keeping me reading it even though at first I wasn't too interested. Still....the flow kept pulling me.
    But it came into its own about a third of the way in, as the real story began to emerge. Alzheimer's has such an insidious onset that it is hard to recognise at first. It gathers strength and becomes progressively disruptive of the mind, the personality, and the family. This was exceptionally well described and touching. And the letter toward the end squeezed a sob out, so bumped up for that too.
  • (5/5)
    I'm just sorry I have finished! I listened to this in the audio version and just wished there were more disks to come!! How Thomas produced this, over 10 years, is just plain incredible to think about. He makes the characters, especially Eileen, Ed and Connell, their son, so real as the years go by and we watch/feel what happens to them. I was so impressed with how much Thomas was able to write about what his characters were experiencing. I feel as though I could look up to see where Eileen's house is and where Connell now lives with his wife. I wish I could go listen to more---it's a story you just don't want to have end.
  • (3/5)
    Powerful story, though too frequently slow moving and repetitive with Big Mike Tumulty the only character I liked and who disappeared too early...Eileen, with her unmanageable and unrelenting materialism and domination of her son, and her son, with his passive refusal to move into his own strength, did not command any loyalty. I wound up skipping a lot of predictable parts.And, why not give dying Grandma the final whiskey SHE craved???
  • (3/5)
    This is a story of a family whose struggles with grief and the illusions of the American dream of success. It is also a glimpse into a family dealing with the early onset of Alzheimers which was very sad but alarmingly eyeopening.
  • (4/5)
    This book is a little too long and it took me a little time to get into it. Other than those small problems, it was well worth the read. The characters were so well drawn out and they have stayed with me for weeks after I finished the book. The author has done a fantastic job of writing about a family in their everyday lives and in crisis. It is a fantastic book and one that I will go back and read again because I am sure that there were things that I missed during the first read. FANTASTIC!
  • (4/5)
    This one has been sitting on my e-reader since the publisher sent it for review last October, and I finally got a chance to read it.This is thoroughly engrossing story, even tho it drags a bit in the middle. It's the story of a couple with different aspirations, who never learn to talk to one another. I found the character of Eileen despicable although I suspect the author wanted us to have a great deal of sympathy for her. The slow and inexorable decline of the husband as he succumbs to early-onset Alzheimers is handled with discouraging and often depressing realism. At times, it appears the entire family is a train-wreck in the making, and then the reader realizes that may actually be what it feels like to live with this fearsome disease. The author may want us to see this as an epic portrayal of how life changed in the 1950s and 1960s, but it is more a study of the combination of impacts-- a disease of the brain and a huge case of greed. It is certainly worth reading to get an idea of the devastating impact of Alzheimer's on not just the patient but the entire family, particularly in earlier times when it was not as well known, diagnosed, and discussed.
  • (2/5)
    A very, very long, mostly boring, book about Eileen and her family. Lots of unnecessary words in here.. as if the author had a field day with a thesaurus. I began to hate the book about halfway through. I'm happy it's done
  • (4/5)
    This book tells the story of Eileen Tumulty Leary, the daughter of Irish immigrants, who grew up in Queens and who aspires to a better life. She marries, has a child, and moves to Westchester, but many of her dreams are never fulfilled. Her husband becomes ill with Alzheimers at a relatively young age, and this part of the story is told with unflinching honesty (members of my immediate family have suffered and are suffering from this disease, so it definitely hits home). Her son, like many children I suppose, does not have the fortitude and knowledge to deal with his father's circumstances and disappoints his mother many times. When reading the book, you almost want to smack him upside the head and tell him to stop being so selfish and get a grip. One thing that didn't quite sit right with me was how Eileen, who is a nurse, doesn't realize for a long time that something is wrong with her husband despite his very bizarre behavior. Nevertheless, I was brought to tears a couple of times, which to me is one sign of a good book. It's a long book and a little slow to get going, but ultimately I found it to be a rewarding read.
  • (4/5)
    This was a tough book to get into. I did struggle a bit but unlike some other books of late I'm so glad I kept with it.Thomas has written the story of a family that will remain with me. The glimpse into the life of a family dealing with early onset Alzheimers was truly sad, but something that so many families are grappling with. Well done.
  • (4/5)
    I kept wondering if I liked this book as I was reading the long "telling me" instead of "showing me" descriptions of the event of Eileen's life. But I kept on, as the story (of her whole life!) was interesting. Finally, about 2/3 of the way through when her husband began to develop Alzheimer's, the pace picked up and we got some real story-telling. Too long though. Could have used some cutting and revision.
  • (5/5)
    A spectacular book. A touching, emotional portrayal of three generations of a family facing terrible challenges makes this book one which will tear at your heart strings.
  • (4/5)
    I really warmed to this novel as I read it - though it took a while. Reminds me very much of _Revolutionary Road_, but with a larger, generational scope. I was left especially effected by how many loose ends were left - the angst, the decaying father, the financial woes- that were never resolved but only muddled through. This is not a comforting story, but an honest one.
  • (5/5)
    Eileen Leary is the main character of this story. She is of Irish ancestry with parents that were far from perfect but each loved her. The author tells the story of her life and family relationships. There are times she was the best person and other times, it was easy to dislike her. Her life is not perfect nor are her family members. The author exposes the family as only a novelist can do. Much of the book revolves around some problems that come a bit later in Eileen's life. It is hard to review this book without giving away the plot as most of the characters evolve with their life situations. There is much to love about this book and I found it to be a very good read. It was a little bit long, but maybe shortening it would cut into the character depictions. I found the subject (the plot I am not discussing) to be painful. For most people, it would be an education, but my family has gone through this... so reading the book causes me to think more about what happened to my family and how I acted. I would say the book causes me to rethink some of my life decisions.This is great when a book can do this for the reader.
  • (5/5)
    Transcendent, and deeply heartbreaking. Let's not get into the self-realization and the larger family observations that flooded the brain after spending time with Eileen, Ed, and Connell. Do we get to be each, at some point in our lives and relationships? Only if we are cursed, and lucky, and forsaken, and loved.
  • (2/5)
    How is this transcendent? It plods along and is utterly boring. If I wanted to read the vapid everyday doings of a bored housewife, I'd...well, I'd rather not, but that is what this book is about. Eileen marries young and apparently below her ambitious station, for she is ever unsatisfied with her husband. She longs for a more expensive, exciting life, and we are treated to page after page in this tome about her repetitive thoughts on what she wants to wear, eat, and live in. Utterly boring.
  • (5/5)
    We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas is a remarkable story of a marriage-the good the bad and everything in between. Eileen and Ed couldn't be more different in temperament-Eileen never satisfied and wanting more and Ed being perfectly content with his life yet theirs is a strong bond shaken when Ed is diagnosed with a long term debilitating illness. Eileen and Ed struggle to understand their son Connell who is both a source of joy and frustration to them. Eileen and Connell struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy as Ed's illness progresses. Mr Thomas does a great job in illustrating the struggles of a family from the early days into it's latter stages. It's a lengthy book-over 600 pages- but it's well worth the time. It's very engrossing from page one and just a wonderful unforgettable read
  • (4/5)
    Over 620 pages seemed a trifle long...some editing would not have hurt the flow of the narrative. Primary and supporting characters were believable and fleshed out adequately. Overall, the story was both engrossing and satisfying at the conclusion.This is an impressive first novel for Matthew Thomas, and I am looking forward to his next offering.
  • (4/5)
    [Thank you to LibraryThing and Simon & Schuster for this advance copy.] We Are Not Ourselves is a stunning novel, and it almost defies belief that it is a debut effort. (Although the publisher does state that he had already put two other novels in a drawer before this one.) It tells the story of three generations of Irish-Americans in Queens who are linked through Eileen--the daughter, the wife, the nurse, and the mother. As such, it is the classic story of immigrants in the U.S.: disoriented at first, but then adapting, integrating, and thriving (one hopes).But it is also the story of Eileen's relationships with the men in her life: her father, "Big Mike," who is the godfather (in the Mario Puzo sense) of their community; her husband Ed, a brilliant but unambitious academic and neuroscientist; and her son Connell, who bears the legacy of both of his parents. And it is also the story of a George Baileyesque character from It's a Wonderful Life, in which every time he thinks he's on the brink of getting what he wants, it's taken away, but he ends up richer for it. If you read this book for no other reason, read it for the evocative and beautiful language:"The tree was heavy with ornaments, strings of lights, and tinsel clumped thick as cooked spinach.""She had worked hard for years, and if she had nothing to show for it but her house and her son's education, there was still the fact of its having happened, which no one could erase from the record of human lives, even if no one was keeping one.""After a few months had passed, the cup of guilt he'd been carying around--for having gone away when his father needed him, for letting him go into a home--simply dried up, and he was left holding the empty vessel of his routine.""...she patted the ground in search of pebbles to leave on the gravestone. It was a Jewish custom she had picked up like a magpie building a nest of grief.""For now, while he breathed and moved, while he felt and thought, there was still, between this moment and the one of his dying, the interval allotted to him, and there was so much to live for in it: the citrus snap of fresh black tea; the compression and release of a warm stack of folded towels carried to the closet between two hands; the tinny resonance of children in the distance when heard through a bedroom window; the mouth-fullness of cannoli cream; the sudden twitch of a horse's ear to chase a fly; the neon green of the outfield grass; the map of wrinkles in one's own hand; the smell and feel, even the taste of dirt; the comfort of a body squeezed against one's own." Now, having said all of that, a couple of caveats:1. Be in a strong emotional place when you read it. I'm serious. 2. As epic as the book is (620 pages in my copy), there are a few places where the narrative jumps unexpectedly. If the book is truly Eileen's story, where are the details of her time in college? Surely there was some culture shock when she left her sheltered neighborhood and met students from other backgrounds, at least. There isn't much about her daily work, either--I think the book would have been stronger if we'd been shown how she became such a good nurse and supervisor, given the role this will play eventually. Final word: I have a major collection of bookmarks--I seem to pick them up without realizing it, and then I can't get rid of them, because reasons. I didn't notice, until I was almost at the end of the book, that the one I had selected for this book said, "Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect--Margaret Mitchell." Uncanny how well it mirrors the theme of We Are Not Ourselves.
  • (2/5)
    As always, I'm grateful to have received an early reviewers copy. Although the "Will you like it?" feature of LibraryThing has high confidence that I'll like the book, I didn't much. Much of the book dragged for me, even though I generally like family stories that take place over decades. I couldn't recommend this book. It's not that it's particularly bad, but that there are so many better books out there more worth your time.