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Preview — The Disappointment Artist by Jonathan Lethem
The Disappointment Artist
The types of engagement with art that I see most frequently fall into two very distinct bins: the engagement of Fans and the engagement of C...more
I immediately took offense to that book. There was a disti...more
Lethem has essentially compiled essays detailing his obsessions ranging from adolescence to present day (he's a little older than 40 now). You have an essay on "The Searchers" (John Wayne western), watching Star Wars 21 ti...more
I think generally people are attracted to authors who either think in a way that is opposite to the way they themselves think, and therefore it is thrilling to read something so alien, or authors who think exactly like they think, and so it is thrilling to read something that corroborates yo...more
But there's this funny thing about Lethem's books.
In The Fortress of Solitude, toward the conclusion of the story the protagonist watches an artistic film created by his father featuring the unbelievable te...more
Being a collection, it has its low points and high points.
High points: the essays about The Searchers, Star Wars, the comi...more
Originally, Lethem expected to be a painter. He instead became a writer. And while he's respected as a great one, it feels like part of the intentions behind this work is to apologize for the painter he's not. If he were a painter, his influences would be self-evident. They could be mulled over only through the act of observation. Instead, he's a writer, so the exp...more
"Hello, my name is Jonathan, and I'm odd and kind of an asshole. Let me assure you, however, that my unfortunate behavior stems from this obsession I have, which I think you'll understand if I explain it to you in detail..."
Jonathan Lethem belongs to that class of authors who can squeeze truly excellent prose from the furnace of neurosis, and he has never been as honestly neurotic as in The Disappointment Artist, a collection of non-ficti...more
By dissecting the touchstones that comprise the elements of his style -- both the pop-cultural ("The Searchers" and John Cassavettes, Marvel Comics and Phillip K. Dick, the Talking Heads) and the personal (his at-times difficult relationship with his painter father...more
It is a personal espousal of belief in liking what you like, for the reasons you like it, and suffering damn-all to share that liking with others.
From the very beginning when Lethem defends his own review of The Searchers (not hard, perhaps - IMDB.com gives it an 8/10), to his introduction to and defense of Pink Floyd, and finally - well, it gets a little hazy...more
"I finished The Disappointment Artist (Jonathan Lethem) this morning. I was so impressed by it. There is so much there that makes me feel gratified, somehow. I guess the ones about Philip K. Dick and Cassavetes were my least favorite, though both nonetheless filled with insight, just least personally affecting. I guess I really liked the first one on The Searchers, the second one of The Disappointment Artist, the one of the Lives of the Bohemians and the one on comic books in the...more
Lethem takes us on an hour ride from this nei...more
Praise for Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude, for what the Baltimore Sun deems "a hybrid tour de force." Not only does Lethem display a broad range of cultural and intellectual knowledge; according to the critics he's mastered the art of memoir as well. The book is as heartfelt and self-effacing as it is esoteric. The one negative review seems more of a personal attack on Lethem than a reasoned slice of criticism (Jennifer Autrey writes in the Fort Worth Star-Tel...more
Then there's the 'densely allusive' quality of the essays. Er. Watch for the echo from Finnegans Wake, congratulate yourself for catching it, berate yourself for your self-congratulation given the...more
There are genuine touching stories as well...more
His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. It was followed by three more science fiction novels. In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn, a National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel t...more