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About the Book

For Eric Metaxas, the answer is Fish Out of Water: A Search for the Meaning of Life—a poetic and sometimes hilarious memoir of his early years, in which the Queens-born son of Greek and German immigrants struggles to make sense of a world in which he never quite seems to fit.

Renowned for his biographies of William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther, Metaxas is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, the witty host of the acclaimed Socrates in the City podcast, and a nationally syndicated radio personality. But here he reveals a personal story few have heard, taking us from his mostly happy childhood—and riotous triumphs at Yale—to the nightmare of drifting toward a dark abyss of meaninglessness from which he barely escapes.

Along the way he introduces us to an unforgettable troupe of picaresque characters who join this quintessentially first-generation American boy in what is both bildungsroman and odyssey—and which underscores just how funny, serious, happy, sad, and ultimately meaningful life can be.


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“In this portrait of the Metaxas as a young man, deeply serious matters exist most comfortably with great wit and maximum humor. As enjoyable as it is to follow him from birth through the fog of his twenties and into the sunlight at their end, you will see that you have also painlessly embraced a wonderful complexity. Even the title represents multiple meanings woven throughout the book and, as in the solution to a mystery, unified and made clear at its end. A delight. I read it in the sunshine, which was entirely appropriate.”

Mark Helprin, NY Times bestselling author of many books, including A Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War

“A profoundly moving memoir.”

Booklist (Starred Review)

“…a narrative reminiscent of Saint Augustine’s Confessions, Metaxas delivers a warts-and-all exploration of his youth”

Kirkus

“Writing is an art form in its own right, every bit as admirable as painting, sculpture, theater and music, as Eric Metaxas … so ably demonstrates [in Fish Out of Water], a memoir of his life that meticulously details ordinary and extraordinary personal events with charismatic finesse… deep insight and laugh-out-loud humor. [A] thoroughly delightful read, a top candidate for anyone’s summer (or even spring) reading list.”

The Washington Times

“…Fish Out of Water masterfully mixes a coming-of-age story with deeply introspective questions.…This is what the world needs right now.”

Western Journal

“Eric Metaxas [is] one of our nation’s most brilliant and morally serious public intellectuals.”

Robert P. George, Princeton University