The Deep Limitless Air, A Memoir in Pieces

Coming April 2022.


Mary Allen’s effortlessly original voice addresses the reader with startling simplicity and moral clarity, whether she is introducing us to the tender friendship between a young woman and a celebrated octogenarian, or allowing us to see through her eyes the beautiful solemnity of monks at their devotions, or tracing her own strange citizenship in the liminal realm of a disrupted childhood and the years that follow.  Simply put, read this book.  Allen’s beguiling and brilliant writing will leave you exhilarated.

Jo Ann Beard, author of Festival Days


Among the reasons I love The Deep Limitless Air is that its spirituality is so light-handed and matter-of-fact and barely distinguishable from the apprehension and appreciation of ordinary life, life both lived and recalled. Mary Allen writes about growing up with a rejecting mother, of lovers, partners, and friends, and a procession of animals who summon her tender and respectful attention, of learning to bear the long silence of meditation and the joyful shout of the world. A beautiful, funny, warm, and heartbreaking book. 

Peter Trachtenberg, author of Another Insane Devotion, On the Love of Cats and Persons


A memoir in pieces, this book is subtitled, and I say what life isn’t in pieces?  A snarl of honeybees in a parcel at the post office evokes a mother’s long-ago rage; a medical insurance crisis precedes a sister giving birth; past loves and an old man who was kind; Boston, Iowa City, Hawaii, speculations of the afterlife.  The Deep Limitless Air tells a life of successive revelation, evolving wisdom.  Its prose has the freshness of the most optimistic morning.  I adore this book.

Honor Moore, author of Our Revolution, A Mother and Daughter at Midcentury