Friday, February 28, 2020

Friday Freebie: I Will Take the Answer and The Gnome Stories by Ander Monson


Congratulations to Amanda Symes, winner of last week’s Friday Freebie contest: Cancer, I’ll Give You One Year by Jennifer Spiegel.

This week’s contest is for two new releases by Ander Monson from Graywolf Press: I Will Take the Answer (essays) and The Gnome Stories. I have a new paperback copy of each to put in the hands of one lucky reader. Will it be you? Keep scrolling for more information on the novel and how to enter the contest...


The idea of connection permeates I Will Take the Answer, Ander Monson’s fourth book of utterly original and intelligent essays. How is our present connected to our past and future? How do neural connections form memories, and why do we recall them when we do? And how do we connect with one another in meaningful ways across time and space? In the opening essay, which extends across the book in brief subsequent pieces, a trip through a storm sewer in Tucson inspires Monson to trace the city’s relationship to Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who shot Gabrielle Giffords and killed six bystanders, along with how violence is produced and how we grieve and honor the dead. With the formally inventive “I in River,” he ruminates on water in a waterless city and the structures we use to attempt to contain and control it. Monson also visits the exuberantly nerdy kingdom of a Renaissance Faire, and elaborates on the enduring appeal of sad songs through the lens of March Sadness, an online competition that he cofounded, an engaging riff on the NCAA basketball tournament brackets in which sad songs replace teams. As personal and idiosyncratic as the best mixtape, I Will Take the Answer showcases Monson’s deep thinking and broad-ranging interests, his sly wit, his soft spot for heavy metal, and his ability to tunnel deeply into the odd and revealing, sometimes subterranean, worlds of American life.



The Gnome Stories focuses on characters who are loners in the truest sense; who are in the process of recovering from mental, physical, or emotional trauma; and who find solace―or at least a sense of purpose―in peculiar jobs and pursuits. A man whose wife has left him is robbed, so he decides to start doing his own breaking and entering, into his neighbors’ homes. When another man’s girlfriend is cryogenically frozen by her family after a car accident, he becomes a maintenance worker at the cryogenic facility, eavesdropping on visitors as they whisper secrets to their frozen loved ones. A woman serves as an assistant to the Starvationist, whose methods to help clients lose large amounts of weight are unorthodox, sadistic―and utterly failproof. Another woman and her robot assistant have been hired to tinker with the troubling memories inside a celebrity’s brain. With The Gnome Stories, Ander Monson presents eleven unforgettable stories about oddly American situations: as surreal as an urban legend and at the same time perfectly mundane.

If you’d like a chance at winning I Will Take the Answer and The Gnome Stories, simply e-mail your name and mailing address to


Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. Please include your mailing address in the body of the e-mail.

The Fine Print
One entry per person, please (or, two if you share the post—see below). Despite its name, the Friday Freebie remains open to entries until midnight on March 5 at which time I’ll draw the winning names. I’ll announce the lucky reader on March 6.

The Finer Print
If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email. Your e-mail address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

The Finest Print
Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.


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