Vanishing Point by Ander Monson
Not a Memoir

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Synopsis

An adventurous exploration of the "I" in American culture, by the author of Neck Deep and Other Predicaments

 Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.

In contemporary America, land of tell-all memoirs and endless reality television, what kind of person denies the opportunity to present himself in his own voice, to lead with “I”? How many layers of a life can be peeled back before the self vanishes?

In this provocative, witty series of meditations, Ander Monson faces down the idea of memoir, grappling with the lure of selfinterest and self-presentation. While setting out to describe the experience of serving as head juror at the trial of Michael Antwone Jordan, he can’t help veering off into an examination of his own transgressions, inadvertent and otherwise. He scrutinizes his private experience of the public funeral ceremony for Gerald R. Ford. He considers his addiction to chemically concocted Doritos and disappointment in the plain, natural corn chip, and finds that the manufactured, considered form, at least in snacks, is ultimately a more rewarding experience than the “truth.” So why is America so crazy about accurately confessional memoirs?

With Vanishing Point, Monson delivers on the promise shown in Neck Deep, which introduced his winning voice and ability to redefine the essay and “puts most memoirs to shame” (Time Out Chicago).
 

About Ander Monson

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Ander Monson is the author of the novel Other Electricities and the poetry collection Vacationland. He lives in Michigan and is editor of the magazine DIAGRAM and of the New Michigan Press.
 
Published March 30, 2010 by Graywolf Press. 208 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Vanishing Point

Kirkus Reviews

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He places passages from dozens of memoirs together to undercut their claims of unique emotional experience, runs the text of one essay without margins to show how strictly framed many stories are and opens an essay on solipsism by filling two pages with the word “me.” Moreover, certain keywords a...

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The New York Times

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Over the last 25 years, the memoir — or The Story of My Life, as Vivian Gornick calls it — has become one of the major gestures of American writing.

Apr 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir

Project MUSE

Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir, the latest book (and website) by Ander Monson, introduces a literary glyph, or dagger.

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Tottenville Review

I type “ball” into otherelectricities, and find Monson further meditating on the ball and even connecting this strand of thought to AC/DC (“we’ve got the biggest balls of them all”).

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