Dear Great Book Guru, I was at Amy Peters’ Farmers’ Market last Saturday morning in front of the Sea Cliff Library buying some wonderful produce when I overheard a conversation about a new book- set in Woodside, Queens- that was “hauntingly beautiful.” Any thoughts? Labor Day Lounger
Dear Labor Day Lounger, Labor Day weekend might be the perfect time to read WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by Matthew Thomas in that work so defines its characters’ lives. We meet Eileen Tumulty Leary in 1951 who as a young fourth grader is caretaker to her immigrant parents. Before this 600 page novel is over, Eileen has become her husband’s caretaker also, but under very different circumstances. In between we witness the changes that America undergoes from the Eisenhower to the Obama presidencies. Eileen’s life embodies much of the American dream and yes, nightmare, as she copes with economic, spiritual, and cultural changes that gnaw away at many of her beliefs and dreams. While told mostly from her perspective, the book midway introduces the voice of her son Connell who tries to come to terms with his complicated feelings towards his mother and father while struggling to find meaning in his work. Indeed- a Labor Day gem and highly, highly recommended!