For insight into America’s eschatological mind-set, and into fundamentalist culture generally, there may be no more eloquent guide than Meghan O’Gieblyn ... Thrillingly alive to big questions of meaning and belief, her essays are testaments to exquisite attentiveness, each painstakingly stitched and emitting a pleasing, old-fashioned whiff of starch ... After reading her book, one could hardly disagree [with O'Gieblyn's points].
[O'Gieblyn] makes use of her Midwestern, fundamentalist Christian upbringing to bolster a sophisticated critical sensibility, providing astute readings of everything from Great Lakes gentrification that trades in a kitschy, hipster 'spirit of the prairie […] industrial ethos;' to John Updike’s suburban-sexual ennui; to the hermeneutics of Alcoholics Anonymous; and to the baroque rationalizations of evangelical Trump supporters. Interior States is an exemplar of the exact sort of commentary that uses religious vocabulary to describe our current moment. O’Gieblyn’s writing works to much greater effect than the anemic hand-wringing of more secular critique ... The biographical genius of O’Gieblyn’s essays is that she uses her own experience of losing her faith to make a more universal claim: the persistence of sublimated theology is 'true of culture as it is of individuals.'
... a private sense of alienation pervades these 15 essays on such binaries as theology and branding, the soul and technology, the Midwest vs. the coasts. An Upper Midwest intellectual from a fundamentalist Christian family, O’Gieblyn brings an outsider’s voice to bear on subjects from economic decline and liberal hipsterism to transhumanism and the questionable teleology of motherhood.
Topicality and personal experience merge to afford insight ... O'Gieblyn conjures midwestern angst with humor and dread ... examines without a particle of condescension ... considers with grace, wit, and compassion.
[A] delightful debut ... Each essay is well-crafted and enjoyable, yet the collection as a whole feels scattered: though many of the essays address the central themes of faith (especially Christian faith) in American life, the overall organization is puzzling, and some of the works are removed from the theme ... Still, O’Gieblyn is a strong writer, and the individual essays flow due to the moving prose, the author’s subtle sense of irony, and her deep insight into and affection for her topics. Although the collection never congeals, these distinct pieces shine individually.