Episode 3: We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
We Are Not Ourselves begins when Eileen Tumulty is a child, living in Queens with her Irish immigrant parents, and follows her through her adolescence and eventual marriage to Ed Leary. Ed is from a working class background like Eileen's, but succeeds in earning his doctorate in psychopharmacology. Despite this, he doesn't share Eileen's desire for upward mobility. The two have a son, Connell, and the novel's perspective comes to alternate between Eileen and Connell as Ed is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers, and the family must confront what this means for their lives.
Matthew Thomas discusses the ways his novel isn't just Eileen's story, but touches on bigger themes about immigration, race, and class. "I was writing about the American Dream," he tells us, "the potency of that dream. . . whether it's still viable or not."