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The Deep Limitless Air

A Memoir in Pieces by Mary Allen

Blue Light Press (May 10th, 2022)

About The Project

“Simply put, read this book.  Allen's beguiling and brilliant writing will leave you exhilarated.”

—Jo Ann Beard, author of Festival Days

From Mary Allen, author of the acclaimed literary memoir, The Rooms of Heaven (Alfred A. Knopf and Vintage Books) comes THE DEEP LIMITLESS AIR: A MEMOIR IN PIECES, a beautiful, funny, warm, and heartbreaking book.  In this tour-de-force collection of interconnected personal essays, written with startling simplicity and perfectly observed detail, Allen reflects on past loves, friends, life with and without family; on meditation, obsession, and insomnia; and on the humans and animals, spiritual questions and personal dilemmas that absorb her attention.  In this collection, as Jo Ann Beard, author of Festival Days, has observed, Mary Allen illuminates “her own strange citizenship in the liminal realm of a disrupted childhood and the years that follow.”


Written in a voice both humorous and perceptive, with earned wisdom and light-handed spirituality, Allen’s essays are both readable and relatable. She poses and answers small and large narrative questions—How did the narrator get those honeybees in the hive while her rageful (and estranged) mother was watching from the house?  How did she manage to fly to New York and give a speech when she had a phobia of flying and a phobia of public speaking, and how did she heal those phobias?


Together the linked essays in THE DEEP LIMITLESS AIR: A MEMOIR IN PIECES echo and revisit personal questions that reveal an arc of evolving revelation and insight.  



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About the Author

Mary Allen’s The Rooms of Heaven was published by Alfred A. Knopf and Vintage Books.  She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship and a Paul Engle/James Michener Fellowship, and has published short work in Poets and Writers, Tiferet, Real Simple, Library Journal, The Chaos, CNN Online, and in the anthology If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught in the University of Iowa’s nonfiction writing MFA program, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and the Rhetoric Department at the University of Iowa.  She currently earns a living as a writing coach and resides in Iowa City, Iowa.



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