Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Matthew Thomas  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: in New York

-- Website --
-- Matthew Thomas on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Thomas earned his BA from the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

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, where he received the Graduate Essay Award. He currently lives in New Jersey.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel
ISBN: 1476756678

Simon & Schuster. 2015

New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014 * Washington Post Top 50 Fiction List for 2014 * Entertainment Weekly Ten Best Fiction Books of 2014 * Esquire 5 Most Important Books of 2014 * Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2014 * One of Janet Maslin’s Ten Favorite Books of the Year in The New York Times

The instant New York Times bestseller The Washington Post calls a “stunning…superbly rendered” novel, and Entertainment Weekly describes as “a gripping family saga, maybe the best…since The Corrections.”

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 how much alcohol has been consumed. From an early age, Eileen wished that she lived somewhere else. She sets her sights on upper class Bronxville, New York, and an American Dream is born.

Driven by this longing, Eileen places her stock and love in Ed Leary, a handsome young scientist, and with him begins a family. Over the years Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house. It slowly becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper, more incomprehensive 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.

Described by The New York Times Book Review as “A long, gorgeous epic, full of love and caring…one of the best novels you’ll read this year,” We Are Not Ourselves is a testament to our greatest desires and our greatest frailties. Through the lives of these characters, Thomas charts the story of the American Century. The result is, “stunning…The joys of this book are the joys of any classic work of literature—for that is what this is destined to become—superbly rendered small moments that capture both an individual life and the universality of that person’s experience” (The Washington Post).


We Are Not Ourselves

  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Notable Book of the Year, New York Times, 2014
  • Top 50 Fiction List, Washington Post, 2014
  • Ten Best Fiction Books, Entertainment Weekly, 2014
  • 5 Most Important Books of 2014, Esquire
  • Best Books of 2014, Publishers Weekly
  • One of Janet Maslins Ten Favorite Books of the Year, New York Times
  • Shortlisted, James Tait Black Prize
  • Finalist, Center for Fiction Firs Novel Prize
  • Longlisted, The Guardian First Book Award
  • Nominated, Folio Prize
  • Finalist, John Garner Fiction Book Award
  • Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Media Inquiries

    Amanda Lang at Simon & Schuster 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

    Literary Rights & Inquiries

    Bill Clegg at The Clegg Agency 156 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1210, New York, NY 10010 (646)


    Speaking Engagements

    Dawn Stuart at Books in Common Bend, Oregon