Matthew Thomas: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Matthew Thomas

New York Times Bestselling Author

"Thomas’s portrait of how Alzheimer's disease cuts through lives is on the mark and sensitive; he gets it all right, and anyone who has lived those cycles of denials and acceptance will recognize herself, or someone else."
-Lisa Peet, The Millions

"This is an ambitious, beautifully written novel about ambition and what it can do and not do. It deals with the classic American Dream in all its messy complications."
-USA Today

Matthew Thomas has a BA from the University of Chicago, an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His New York Times-bestselling debut novel We Are Not Ourselves was shortlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and longlisted for both the Guardian First Book Award and the Folio Prize. It was named a Notable Book of 2014 by the New York Times, as well as one of the top fifty best fiction books of the year by the Washington Post, one of the ten best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, and one of Janet Maslin’s ten favorite books of the year in the New York Times.

Destined to be a classic, We Are Not Ourselves is a "powerfully moving" (Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding), multigenerational debut novel of an Irish-American family that is nothing short of a “masterwork” (Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End).

Born in 1941, protagonist 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—and that his reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives as Ed’s health mysteriously declines—to a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Eileen, Ed, and their son Connell must try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, the idea they have cherished of the future.

Through the Learys, Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured the American imagination in the years after WWII. This story—and its complications—is one that Thomas knows intimately, and one that he is uniquely qualified to tell: his own father, a professor like Ed in the novel, suffered through and eventually died from Alzheimer’s. Thomas’s father was diagnosed when Thomas was a teenager, making the illness a defining event in Thomas’s own life, a linchpin of who he would become as a writer and as person. We Are Not Ourselves, then, is a kind of reckoning with the past and the present, a riveting work of art 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.

Interested in booking Matthew Thomas to speak at your next event?

Contact Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau.

(866) 248-3049

  • We Are Not Ourselves
  • The Irish In America
  • Literary Depictions of Illness
  • Education in America

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