The essays in Jonathan Lethem’s The Disappointment Artist are some of the smartest and most entertaining takes on culture (high and low) I’ve read in ages. Part autobiography and part cultural criticism, the essays are peppered with touching, but never maudlin, moments (especially in “The Beards”) and wonderful intellectual detours that always find their way back, in a timely manner, to the main road. If you’ve ever just known something was important, but couldn’t express exactly why, then you’ll love “Defending The Searchers.” The title essay, featuring obscurish novelist Edward Dahlberg, should be made into a movie.
Bio: Michael Archer is a founding editor of Guernica. His interview with Wuer Kaixi appeared in Guernica’s June 2009 issue. Read the follow up to the article here. Read Archer’s last recommendation here.