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Neck Deep and Other Predicaments

Author 1
Ander Monson
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

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

About the Author

Ander  Monson
Credit: Aidan Avery
Ander Monson is the author of Letter to a Future Lover; Vanishing Point, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Neck Deep and Other Predicaments. He edits DIAGRAM and the New Michigan Press. He lives in Tucson, where he teaches at the University of Arizona.
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  • “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
  • “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


This book is made possible, in part, through endowed gifts from the Arsham Ohanessian Charitable Remainder Unitrust, endowed gifts from the Ruth Easton Fund of the Edelstein Family Foundation, and by the generosity of Graywolf Press donors like you.
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