By the Iowa Sea

A Memoir

By Joe Blair
(Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781451636055, 288pp.)

Publication Date: March 6, 2012

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the March 2012 Indie Next List
“This is a perfectly written book about a very complicated family under extraordinary circumstances. A troubled couple, Joe and his wife, along with their four kids, live in Coralville, Iowa, at nightmarish flood tide. Blair knows how families work and knows the sorrow of families working poorly. He also learns the way tragedy can pull things together. His struggles with his wife and learning-disabled son are particularly moving. No one can teach someone to write with Blair's level of honesty and love.”
-- Paul Ingram, Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, IA


Description

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.




About the Author
Joe Blair is a pipefitter who lives in Coralville, Iowa, with his wife and four children. His essays have appeared in "The New York Times", "The Christian Science Monitor", and "The Iowa Review".
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By the Iowa Sea

 

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