By Ander Monson
Sarabande Books, Paperback, 9781932511154, 224pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2005
Like Franklin's discovery of the electricity we do know, Monson's luminous, galvanized book represents a paradigm shift. The frequencies of the novel have been scrambled and redefined by this elegant experiment. "Other Electricities" is a new physics of prose, a lyric string theory of charged and sparkling sentences. What a kite What a key Michael Martone
Monson is tuned in to our crackling, chaotic, juiced-up times like no other young writer I know. "Other Electricities" is necessary reading. Robert Olen Butler
Meet Yr Protagonist: radio amateur, sometime vandal and at times, perhaps the author of Monson's category-defying collection:
"I know about phones. While our dad was upstairs broadcasting something to the world, and we were listening in, or trying to find his frequency and listen to his voice . . . we would give up and go out in the snow with a phone rigged with alligator clips so we could listen in on others conversations. There's something nearly sexual about this, hearing what other people are saying to their lovers, children, cousins, psychics, pastors. . . ."
The cumulative effect of this stunningly original collection seems to work on the reader in the same way we follow glimpses of dispossessed lives in the snow-buried reaches of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, where nearly everyone seems to be slipping away under the ice to disappear forever. Through an unsettling, almost crazed gestalt of sketches, short stories, lists, indices and radio schematics, Monson presents a world where weather, landscape, radio waves and electricity are characters in themselves, affecting a community held together by the memories of those they have lost.
Ander Monson is the editor of "DIAGRAM" and the New Michigan Press. He teaches at Grand Valley State University and lives in Michigan. Tupelo Press recently published his poetry collection, "Elegies for Descent and Dreams of Weather.