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 21 times, 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.
BONUS: This audio also includes an interview with the author.