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The Disappointment Artist And Other Essays
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Random House
Publication date March 15, 2005
Binding Cassette/Spoken Word
Edition Abridged
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780739314913
ISBN-10 0739314912
Availability§ Publication Cancelled
Original list price $16.95
Other format details audio
§As reported by publisher
Summaries and Reviews
Summary
Blending elements of reminiscence and cultural commentary, the author presents a series of imaginative essays that address a wide range of cultural obsessions.
Amazon.com description: Product Description: In a volume he describes as “a series of covert and no-so-covert autobiographical pieces,” Jonathan Lethem explores the nature of cultural obsession—in his case, with examples as diverse as western films, comic books, the music of Talking Heads and Pink Floyd, and the New York City subway. Along the way, he shows how each of these “voyages out from himself” have led him home—home to his father's life as a painter, and to the source of his beginnings as a writer. THE DISAPPOINTMENT ARTIST is a series of windows onto the collisions of art, landscape, and personal history that formed Lethem’s richly imaginative, searingly honest perspective on life as a human creature in the jungle of culture at the end of the twentieth century.

From a confession of the sadness of a “Star Wars nerd” to an investigation into the legacy of a would-be literary titan, Lethem illuminates the process by which a child invents himself as a writer, and as a human being, through a series of approaches to the culture around him. In “The Disappointment Artist,” a letter from his aunt, a children’s book author, spurs a meditation on the value of writing workshops, and the uncomfortable fraternity of writers. In “Defending The Searchers” Lethem explains how a passion for the classic John Wayne Western became occasion for a series of minor humiliations. In “Identifying with Your Parents,” an excavation of childhood love for superhero comics expands to cover a whole range of nostalgia for a previous generation’s cultural artifacts. And “13/1977/21,” which begins by recounting the summer he saw Star Wars twenty-one times, “slipping past ushers who’d begun to recognize me . . . occult as a porn customer,” becomes a meditation on the sorrow and solace of the solitary movie-goer.

THE DISAPPOINTMENT ARTIST confirms Lethem's unique ability to illuminate the way life, his and ours, can be read between the lines of art and culture.

Editions
Hardcover
Book cover for 9780385512176
 
from Doubleday (March 15, 2005)
9780385512176 | details & prices | 149 pages | 6.25 × 9.25 × 0.75 in. | 0.80 lbs | List price $22.95
About: Blending elements of reminiscence and cultural commentary, the author presents a series of imaginative essays that address a wide range of cultural obsessions.
Paperback
Book cover for 9781400076819
 
Reprint edition from Vintage Books (March 14, 2006); titled "The Disappointment Artist: and Other Essays"
9781400076819 | details & prices | 149 pages | 5.25 × 8.00 × 0.50 in. | 0.40 lbs | List price $14.95
About: Blending elements of reminiscence and cultural commentary, the award-winning author of Motherless Brooklyn presents a series of imaginative essays that address a wide range of cultural obsessions, in such works as 'Defending The Searchers,' 'Identifying with Your Parents,' and '13/1977/21,' about the summer he saw Star Wars twenty-one times.
Cassette/Spoken Word
The price comparison is for this edition
Abridged edition from Random House (March 15, 2005)
9780739314913 | details & prices | List price $16.95
About: Blending elements of reminiscence and cultural commentary, the author presents a series of imaginative essays that address a wide range of cultural obsessions.

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