Neck Deep and Other Predicaments

Neck Deep and Other Predicaments
Ander Monson

“[Monson’s] geek act has charm. Obsessed with the bric-a-brac of electronic culture…as well as outmoded technologies like Telex, Monson revels in the way information flows through the world.”—The New York Times Book Review

“The essay turns the outline discussion into a backbeat as it quickly shifts into an insightful, funny and moving discussion of the UP’s flagging economy and the consequent adjustments Monson’s family must make.”—Time Out Chicago

About the Book

An innovative and engaging nonfiction debut by "an original new voice" (Publishers Weekly) and the second winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

In this sparkling nonfiction debut, Monson uses unexpectedly nonliterary forms—the index, the Harvard Outline, the mathematical proof—to delve into an equally surprising mix of obsessions: disc golf, the history of mining in northern Michigan, car washes, topology, and more. He reflects on his outsider experience at an exclusive Detroit-area boarding school in the form of a criminal history and invents a new form as he meditates on snow.

"Elizabeth Bishop often remarked that she wanted poems and prose that register the mind in motion rather than at rest. Bishop would have loved the work of Ander Monson, as much for his yearning mind as his quick, restless, precise motion. 'I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT SNOW,' Monson writes in Neck Deep. Yes, indeed, and one of the many copious and surprising things he's also obviously been thinking about is the new American essay, of which he is the latest Edison, to touch on the title of his earlier novel, Other Electricities. For Monson the essay is something like a schematics for our fiercest longings and most ecstatic inventions. Every time I turn to it I'm astonished all over again by the majesty of this book."—Robert Polito, Judge

Additional Reviews

“Strange and delightful. . . . cutting edge.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“Wonderfully recondite and cunningly executed, Monson’s work will make a brilliant discovery for open-minded fans of narrative nonfiction.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In this often amusing, inventive, and unconventional approach to autobiography, Monson comes at us sideways with personal revelations and observations that are alternately filled with infectious enthusiasm and shamefaced contrition.”­—Rain Taxi Review Of Books