In the tradition of classic essayists from Virginia Woolf to Annie Dillard, Meghan Florian combines personal narrative with careful analysis, taking the ordinary material of undramatic daily life and distilling it into moments of clarity and revelation. Centering each essay in this collection on a different aspect of coming of age as a feminist woman within the ethos of the theological academy and the church, Florian interrogates the problems that arise when trying to inhabit these seemingly incompatible spheres, illuminating aspects of work, relationships, and daily life as a young woman. Part intellectual bildungsroman, part feminist manifesto, together these essays detail midpoints on one young woman’s journey from the warm simplicity of a bookish adolescence with firm faith, through the joys and challenges of academic study that threaten that life and stability, to find not a place of resolution, but the ability to embrace a life unfolding.
“Meghan Florian’s debut essay collection The Middle of Things shines with candor and intelligence. In the opening essay, Florian offers, ‘I developed an internal dialogue, and a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around me.’ It is from this dialogue that bursts forth a myriad of admissions the reader will find effortlessly drawn and endlessly engaging. In essay after essay, guided by her unwavering connection to Kierkegaard’s work, Florian presents an ongoing interrogation of the self, recasting doubts and declarations, while forging a voice that is singular and assured.”
—Jon Pineda, author of Sleep in Me
“Florian writes about faith and hope and life and learning a la Anne Lamott and Sarah Manguso. She’s bright, quick, lively, and fresh, a young master of the essay, which she uses as a vehicle to delight, analyze, explore, digress. She ambles from Kierkegaard to Radiohead and back again without ever losing track of her central question: how do I make—and furnish—a meaningful life?”
—Heather Sellers, Professor of English, University of South Florida