Doubting Thomas

Thomas McGurrin is a fourth-grade teacher and openly gay man at a private primary school serving Portland, Oregon's wealthy progressive elite when he is falsely accused of inappropriately touching a male student. The accusation comes just as Thomas is thrust back into the center of his unusual family by his younger brother's battle with cancer. Although cleared of the accusation, Thomas is forced to resign from a job he loves during a potentially life-changing family drama.

Davison's novel explores the discrepancy between the progressive ideals and persistent negative stereotypes among the privileged regarding social status, race, and sexual orientation and the impact of that discrepancy on friendships and family relations.

By turns rueful, humorous, angry, and wise, Doubting Thomas marks the debut of an important writer.

Bywater Books, 9781612941998, 272pp.

Publication Date: June 8, 2021

Read an excerpt in The Advocate. Pre-order the book at The Booksmith and Bookshop

 

"Doubting Thomas moves compellingly and compassionately among races, genders, sexual identities, and other human conditions.  A novel of this depth and vigor, this liveliness, would be notable coming from any writer; the fact that it’s Matthew Clark Davison’s first is a clear indication of marvels yet to come." Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours

 

Doubting Thomas by Matthew Clark Davison is wonderfully insightful and tremendously generous of spirit. A book for our age in that it masterfully navigates the emotional terrain of real people with real affection for each other, who are trying their best to do the right thing by those they love. That they do this across differences of race, sexual orientation, class, and culture is a part of the book, of course, yet this isn’t some intellectual exercise. The book’s characters are terrifically alive and kicking, constantly surprising, dismaying, and delighting us.” Alice LaPlante, author of Turn of Mind

 

"How do you go on after one rough year, after the end of a relationship, an illness in the family, and a false accusation, which leads to multiple betrayals from the community that once nourished you? Matthew Clark Davison's absorbing, electric Doubting Thomas knows that just when you think the losses are behind you, more are on the way, and yet some losses are entangled with unexpected offerings: a fresh way to see, a chance to be of purpose again, and an invitation to love. A searing, candid debut." 
--Paul Lisicky, author of Later: My Life at the Edge of the World

 

"Doubting Thomas is a phenomenal gift; a complex and careful layering of the inherent intersectionality of personhood, and a testament to the transcendent possibilities of storytelling. Heart-wrenching and mending, Matthew Clark Davison proves in these pages that, in the hands of the right writer, a novel's humanity and craft can amplify one another to matching exaltation. DOUBTING THOMAS reveals Davison as the preeminent among such writers, from whom the rest of us are lucky to learn."—T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

 

"An electrifying debut. Doubting Thomas is one of those novels where you return to passages again and again to see exactly how the author pulled off an ingenious sleight-of-hand. Matthew Clark Davison is a force to be reckoned with." Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City

 

"A wrenching professional crisis becomes the occasion for a man to reckon with everything that made him who he is—the loves of his past, his family, the very job he’s in danger of losing.  Is it possible to emerge from such a moment with hope and an open heart?  The extremely talented Matthew Clark Davison offers an answer in the form of this very beautiful novel." —Ann Packer, author of The Dive From Clausen's Pier

 

"What's so enviable, so thrilling in Doubting Thomas is how deeply realized these characters are... not just Thomas but every character brims with rich detail, nuanced psyche, the beautiful paradoxes of soul and being that make us human." —Patrick Earl Ryan, author of the 2020 Flannery O'Connor Award-winning collection If We Were Electric 

 

"In all my years of reading, I’ve never quite encountered a book like Doubting Thomas. What is seemingly a book about scandal and betrayal becomes, in Davison’s skilled hands, a prismatic view of one man’s grappling with the complexities of family, community, history, memory, and self. Doubting Thomas is nuanced, layered, detailed, and incredibly touching. In short, this is a fiercely complicated story, beautifully told.” Zoela Renee Summerfield, author of Every Other Weekend

 

"In Matthew Davison's Doubting Thomas, a gay man is accused of molesting one of his students, and is forced to turn his world inside out.  With much grace and a deep understanding of both parenthood and friendship, Davison has meticulously chronicled love – wild and brotherly and even marital – into one man's battle to understand himself. Sex too – a treat for the sensuous. "Terese Svoboda, author of Great American Desert

 

“From the shock of the first sentence, through heart-rending twists and shifts, right through to the end, Doubting Thomas is a compulsively readable, brilliantly assured novel. Matthew Clark Davison creates such indelible characters, you'll miss them when you close the book” —Justin Torres, author of We the Animals