Interior States

Essays
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of The Believer Book Award for Nonfiction

"Meghan O'Gieblyn's deep and searching essays are written with a precise sort of skepticism and a slight ache in the heart. A first-rate and riveting collection." (Lorrie Moore)

A fresh, acute, and even profound collection that centers around two core (and related) issues of American identity: faith in general and the specific forms Christianity takes in particular; and the challenges of living in the Midwest when culture is felt to be elsewhere.

What does it mean to be a believing Christian and a Midwesterner in an increasingly secular America where the cultural capital is retreating to both coasts? 

The critic and essayist Meghan O'Gieblyn was born into an evangelical family, attended the famed Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for a time before she had a crisis of belief, and still lives in the Midwest, aka "Flyover Country". She writes of her "existential dizziness, a sense that the rest of the world is moving while you remain still", and that rich sense of ambivalence and internal division inform the 15 superbly thoughtful and ironic essays in this collection. 

The subjects of these essays range from the rebranding (as it were) of Hell in contemporary Christian culture ("Hell"), a theme park devoted to the concept of intelligent design ("Species of Origin"), the paradoxes of Christian Rock ("Sniffing Glue"), Henry Ford's reconstructed pioneer town of Greenfield Village and its mixed messages ("Midwest World"), and the strange convergences of Christian eschatology and the digital so-called Singularity ("Ghosts in the Cloud"). 

Meghan O'Gieblyn stands in relation to her native Midwest as Joan Didion stands in relation to California - which is to say a wholehearted lover, albeit one riven with ambivalence at the same time.

©2018 Meghan O'Gieblyn (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"One of the most consistently absorbing collection of essays I've read in a long time. Meghan O'Gieblyn is at times rueful, at times hard-hitting, but hers is a distinctly independent-minded and nuanced voice." (Daphne Merkin)

"For insight into America's eschatological mind-set, and into fundamentalist culture generally, there may be no more eloquent guide than Meghan O'Gieblyn, who was raised in the faith and then - painfully, reluctantly - abandoned it... What she captures most vividly here is Christianity's indomitable reach... Thrillingly alive, her essays are testaments to exquisite attentiveness, each painstakingly stitched and emitting a pleasing, old-fashioned whiff of starch." (The New York Times Book Review)

“Comparing O’Gieblyn’s writing on the Midwest to Didion’s essays on California might seem too easy, but the comparison is apt. Both authors seem to be looking for a way out of their homeland, even as they admit they’ll probably never leave.” (Bookforum)  

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More than just essays an explanation of Trump

This was a collection of essays from and about the impact of Midwest US culture. I found it enlightening and most importantly was introduced to a couple of new concepts: Transhumanism and the #Exile movement within the Evangelical community. The latter actually clarified for me the question of how "Evangelical Christians" can support so unwaveringly a man such as Donald Trump. It was an eye opener to say the least. I give this book the highest of recommendations to those of you trying to make sense of Trump's popularity among the Religous Right

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If you FLYOVER this one, you will miss out!!


As a fellow flyover state resident, I loved the push and pull of how we are perceived. Yes, our lives are a bit quieter than the streets of Manhattan, and we do not have the same political gravitas of San Francisco, but we are populated with real people, real issues, and real writers talented enough to tell our stories with a gravitas of their own. Sometimes we even like the fact that we are underestimated. I live in Nebraska, which recently made national headlines with our new tourism slogan, - Honestly, It's Not for Everyone - This slogan is next to pictures of people having a lot of fun, and secondary taglines that mock the misperceptions of what Nebraska is like.
Meghan takes us on an adventure, not just of some truly beautiful places in the Midwest, but to some of the beautiful spot in her soul. She shares with us the real struggles everyone can relate to, whether on a farm or a beach. She even proves to us that there are beaches in Michigan.
Regardless where you live, who/what you believe in, there is something for you in this book.
This is O'Gieblyn's first full-length book, but I feel it brings together a collection of essays that are great stand-alone pieces you can read one at a time in any order, yet have a connectivity that makes it a great audiobook to listen to - perhaps on a long drive to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving in Iowa, where there really is nothing to see...(take that, Iowa!) #spiritual #funny #Midwest #loveofplace #home #tagsgiving and #sweepstakes