We are not ourselves summary

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we are not ourselves summary

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

Epic in scope, heroic in character, and masterful in prose, We Are Not Ourselves is a multigenerational portrait of the Irish American Leary family.

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 shes found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesnt 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.
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Published 19.07.2019

Foxtails Brigade "We Are Not Ourselves" (official audio)

By Bret McCabe. The schoolgirl Eileen watches her father hold court in the bar only to clam up at home, the silence between him and her mother preferable to the chaos that erupts when he is whiskey drunk. When her mother joins him in alcoholism, Eileen observes that she "drank harder than her father ever had, as though she were trying to make up for lost time.
Matthew Thomas

We Are Not Ourselves

Lear wants to find reasons for the Duke of Cornwall's refusal to come at his bidding, but, unconsciously, he foreshadows his own fate. Lear's mind will be stripped naked, like his body. His identity will crumble. Even his language will be blown out of him, leaving the agonised simplicity of his last words. It's no secret that We Are Not Ourselves , longlisted for the Guardian First Book award , deals with a suffering mind, nor is it a spoiler to say that the disease in question is early-onset Alzheimer's: this is made clear less than a sixth of the way through the book.

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As a young woman training for a graduate degree in nursing administration, Eileen Tumulty longs for the day when she will marry and take another name. Bright, attractive and strong-willed, Eileen is passionately ambitious, determined to shake off the poverty-haunted, alcohol-ridden atmosphere of her childhood and achieve not only wealth and comfort but a sense of belonging. Shame is the deeply buried force that drives her. And sure enough, he seems to have an appealing gravity, an admirable seriousness of purpose. Ed is a scientist, a brain expert, with a special interest in the effects of psychotropic drugs on neural functioning. As they become a couple, Eileen sees a bright and prosperous future before them. However, what neither realizes is that they want very different things from life.

This summary of We Are Not Ourselves includes a complete plot overview – spoilers included! We're considering expanding this synopsis into a full-length study.
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Genre: Novel. Toggle navigation. Annotated by: Teagarden, J. Date of entry: Jun Last revised: Jun Eileen was forced to learn how to manage a household at a very young age when first her mother was kept in a hospital for 8 months after a hysterectomy, and then again when her mother became incapacitated by alcoholism.

The tale begins when Eileen is ten-years-old. Her father, Big Mike, is a beer truck driver who picks her up after school or dance class every day. Young Eileen sits off to the side and sits alone at a table doing her homework while glancing once in a while at her father who is the most popular patron of the bar. The other guys all look up to him and ask him for his advice or bits of wisdom. Big Mike revels in the attention and believes his own publicity.


  1. Kassia A. says:

    ISBN Summary Born in , 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.

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