A 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.
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.'