Everyone has a book they read as a teenager that changed their life. When he was 17, the guy making this documentary read a book review in the New York Times that heralded a new first novel by a young author as the voice of his generation, and one of the greatest novels written. Our guy never finished the book, but later in his 50’s (that’s now) he finally reads the whole thing and decides that it was indeed one of the greatest novels ever written. But there’s not a trace of the brilliant author anywhere including the web. How odd! He writes one of the best books ever, which no one reads, and then disappears. None of the teachers, critics, editors who worked on the book, or even his agent knows what happened to him. The film then becomes a quest for this disappeared genius. The obsessed director travels all around the country trying to track him down. Along the way, he interviews book-nerdy friends, famous authors, librarians, wise old professors, writing teachers, and anyone else with something to say about the meaning of reading and novels, and maybe some clue on the destiny of this one-time genius. Perhaps he is still alive secretly writing great unpublished books in his drawer? The more elusive the author becomes, the deeper the filmmaker gets into the power of books to change our lives. This is a film about the love of reading, and the difficulty of making something worth reading. It’s quirky, vibrant, personal, and original. As a reader and devourer of books, I loved it.
2002, 128 min.
$10, DVD, 2 discs
Read more about the film at Wikipedia
Rent from Netflix
Available from Amazon