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