Onansburg, Iowa

Onansburg, Iowa

Lammers, Peggy

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Onansburg, Iowa begins in the thick haze of unexpected grief: After Sonny Dawson’s wife Polly dies suddenly, he finds himself going through the motions of the funeral rites. Perhaps there’s a kind of comfort in what feels like a pre-written script of the mourning rituals Sonny is asked to perform as the whole town of Onansburg gathers for Polly’s death. But after the funeral, Sonny is left without a way to navigate the full loss of the shared life he worked so hard to build with his wife. 

In Polly’s absence, Sonny is confronted with revelations about who he is as he attempts to move forward with his new reality. He must now also contend with the underlying tension that has always strained his relationship with Polly’s family. The story takes place within the span of a week but weaves together the shared secrets, histories, and trauma of his family across multiple generations. As Sonny wades through the annals of his mind—guided by insights from friends and nemeses alike—he discovers the shocking memories responsible for shaping the way he is today. 

Poignant, painful, and honest, Onansburg, Iowa reads like a subtle, sprawling epic of small-town America, establishing the town itself as one of the most crucial characters. Author Peggy Lammers has created a vividly written novel filled with relevant sociological and psychological insights that will challenge readers to look deeply and with more empathy at the people around them. This book will appeal to those who love literary fiction and enjoy discussing themes that shake our beliefs yet keep us grounded.