Rob's Reviews > Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir

Vanishing Point by Ander Monson
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Apr 30, 2012

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bookshelves: essays, non-fiction, postmodern, read-in-2012
Read from May 21 to 23, 2012

(7/10) Vanishing Point is a collection of essays, chunks of memoir, and experimental nonfiction centred around the idea of memoir as a genre and its recent explosion in popularity. The best evidence of this is the cut-up "assembloirs" that dot the book, which reveal exactly how interchangable the contents of such books are. Monson's skepticism towards this boom is not exactly novel, and a good chunk of the meta-commentary is not really as clever as it thinks it is. In fact, there's the general sense that Monson is trying too hard to be David Foster Wallace, an affliction common among contemporary writers.

Still, it's hard to fault a writer making such an honest attempt to be experimental, and most of the experiments work. Most notable is "Solipism", an essay filtered through several formats and now with two or three layers of commentary alongside the original work, which are usually more interesting than the essay itself. It's also a nice reflection of the creative and editorial process in a visual medium, and one that forces you to deal with the page as an artifact in itself and not just a way of conveyinng information.

The best parts are, interestingly enough, the essays on fast food restraunts as cultural common spaces and Monson's habit of collecting rare Doritos flavours. I think Ander Monson should write a book dedicated to junk food. I would definitely read that.

(There was also some online content that was mentioned a couple times, but I didn't read it. It's May, I want to read on the back porch in the sun and not have to run to a computer every time there's an asterisk. Sorry.)
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