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Matthew Thomas


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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 lives with his wife and twin children in New Jersey.

Genres: Literary Fiction
 
Novels
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Matthew Thomas recommends
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A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea (2013)
Dina Nayeri
"Beautifully elegiac, Refuge brings into focus the entire experience of emigration Nayeri is brilliant on parental imperfections and the negotiations children make with their families, and she offers a remarkably textured portrayal of drug addiction and of everyday Iran that defies news-media stereotypes."
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The Barrowfields (2017)
Phillip Lewis
"THE BARROWFIELDS knows that the worst hauntings happen not in old houses but in troubled minds. The psychological landscape is craggy in this vivid update on Southern Gothic steeped in gorgeous vernacular and full of characters ready to walk off the page. Lewis goes down to the depths and back up in this powerfully hopeful book, and the reader is helpless in his hands."
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Gypsy Moth Summer (2017)
Julia Fierro
"The Gypsy Moth Summer gathers all of life in its wonderfully confident reach: the buzzing energy of youth, the fraught hope of adulthood, the remorseless clarity of old age. Fierro's thoroughly entertaining storytelling doesn't prevent her from taking on weighty subjects like race and class in America or delivering a rebuke of the lives of privilege that she chronicles with such anthropological accuracy. We are deeply invested in these characters around whom an air of tragic destiny hangs, and the pages fly by as the book hurtles toward its devastating conclusion."
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Modern Gods (2017)
Nick Laird
"Modern Gods is at once remorselessly clear-eyed about human frailty in the aggregate and full of loving kindness for human beings as individuals. The taut prose reveals a poet’s hand, and the dialogue a playwright’s ear; Laird can nail an entire character in one acutely perceptive description, and he channels Amis in richly-suggestive transitions that crystallize the truths of well-wrought scenes. Ferociously intelligent, radically contemporary, deeply affecting, stunning."
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Oliver Loving (2018)
Stefan Merrill Block
"In lucid prose and with a tremendously sure narrative hand, Block weaves together a coming of age story and a lament of lost youth. This is the story of the devastation inflicted on those left behind by catastrophic illness, and the strength they find to live in the wake of it. The novel becomes a thriller of sorts, with secrets upon secrets, conflicting agendas, and the truth quivering in every conversation. Anessential window into the consciousness of someone on the other side of an impenetrable veil, Oliver Loving brilliantly illuminates the enduring bonds of family and offers one of literature's best explorations of the limits of communication we all grapple with."
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The Last Book Party (2019)
Karen Dukess
"The Last Book Party captures a world tantalizingly close to the surface of memory, in which things now lost to time mattered a great deal, and the Internet era was slouching toward us to be born. This Orphic book goes down to retrieve a beloved New York, and the pleasant ache at its heart is that it can’t bring it back forever. Charming, lovely, and written with a light touch, this book captures the longing and unease of summer romance amid the complexity of post-graduate life. Shades of Goodbye, Columbus, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, and Bright Lights, Big City haunt its pages."
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The Dearly Beloved (2019)
Cara Wall
"This wonderful book has all the things that are hardest to find in literature: good marriages sustained by abiding love; nourishing friendships that endure trials; nuanced explorations of religious faith; and characters who strive to do good for others while battling their own demons. What it has, in short, is that hardest-won of qualities in a novel: genuine goodness. None of the extraordinary humanity in this book feels unearned; it's as if Wall has stared into the abyss of real life and come out with energy, hope, and a story suffused in light. We say of books that they are unputdownable; this is a book that you have to put down for a spell in order to take in all the generosity it offers; a book in which it is impossible not to wonder what comes next in these four intertwined and gorgeously observed lives."
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Braised Pork (2020)
An Yu
"This exquisite novel is many things: a detective story in which the real object of pursuit is how one makes meaning of a sometimes ineffable existence; a meditation on the talismanic power of art and the indefatigability of the human spirit; and a many-faceted, perfectly cut gem of psychological portraiture set in well-wrought sentences burnished to a gorgeous luster. The emotions in this book keep pace with you, shadowing you with a quiet intensity, until in the last stretch they overtake you completely."
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The Vanishing Sky (2020)
L Annette Binder
"The challenge in humanizing the Western world's most tortured history proves no match for Binder's intellect, compassion, and unflinching gaze; one gets the feeling this writer, in the stunning precision of her painterly details, would prove virtuosic with any material she was handed to use. A hugely ambitious novel whose consummate, patient artistry is moving beyond measure."
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Kings County (2020)
David Goodwillie
"Goodwillie has the anthropology of New York down. In Kings County, young professionals struggle to find their moral compass as they test the limits of their relationships under the glare of city lights, and suffer the dramatic effects of their past and present decisions. He weaves suspense around a dark, page-turning mystery that stays palpable to the end, and his confident—and often comedic—narrative hand allows him to seamlessly fold in contemporary events and generate a necessary social document for this new age of unenlightenment."
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The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures (2020)
Jennifer Hofmann
"Gorgeous, dark, and haunted... a masterpiece of restraint, insight, and style... There is an extraordinary clarity of perception in these pages and one is astonished time and again at Jennifer Hofmann's prodigious gifts... It is a singular feat for a book about subject matter this chilling to make the reader feel so deeply; and yet that is part of the work of timeless literature, which is what this incandescent novel surely will come to be regarded as."

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