By the Iowa Sea

By the Iowa Sea

A Memoir

Book - 2012
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An exquisitely written memoir about the heartbreaks and ecstasies of marriage and fatherhood by a talented new writer from the University of Iowa MFA program.

The anticipated debut of an original American voice, By the Iowa Sea is a wrenching, unsentimental account of the heartbreaks and ecstasies of marriage, fatherhood, and small-town life in the Midwest.

After his first cross-country motorcycle trip, Joe Blair believed he had discovered his true calling. He would travel. He would never cave in to convention. He would never settle down.

Fifteen years later, Joe finds himself living in Iowa, working as an air-conditioning repairman and spending his free time cleaning gutters, taxiing his children, and contemplating marital infidelity. "Our history," he writes, "gains more weight day by day. And the future seems more and more unlikely to be anything cool at all." Joe believes it would take an act of great faith or courage to revive in him the passion and promise that once seemed so easy to come by.

What it takes, he discovers, is a disaster. When the Iowa River floods, transforming the familiar streets and manicured lawns of his neighborhood into a terrible and beautiful sea, he begins to question the path that led him to this place.

Exquisitely observed and lyrically recounted, this is a compelling and often humorous account of an ordinary man's struggle to live an extraordinary life. Joe Blair lays bare the moving, hopeful story of a river that becomes an ocean and a love that is lost and found again, by the Iowa Sea.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2012.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781451636055
Branch Call Number: BIO BLAIR J. Blair 02/2012
Characteristics: 280 p. ;,24 cm.


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Aug 04, 2012

Beautiful without being twee in commentary- no 'rose-colored glasses' for this marriage/family. The middle 50 pages drug-on a bit for me, but stick with the people in the book and they will surprise you. I hope he writes again.

Mary43 Apr 04, 2012

Interesting to get inside the mind of Joe for a while. Lots to think about. Life's changes and experiences told as he matures and struggles.


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Jul 27, 2013

Some good details about a marriage falling apart otherwise seemed to me not terribly well* written and lost interest. Others seem to like it so maybe I didn't hang in long enough.

*(not that I'm a great writer either)


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