How Beautiful It Is And How Easily It Can Be Broken collects some of the criticism of Daniel Mendelsohn. Books, movies, theatre. Mendelsohn is a Classics scholar so his work is constantly making connections with the old Greek and Roman tragedies and epics.
I didn’t read all the essays because sometimes I just wasn’t familiar with what he was criticizing. But among the ones I liked were:
- his wonderful critique of Brokeback Mountain, or rather, a critique of how the critical reception washed out what makes it special (An Affair to Remember);
- his pondering why Tarantino movies, Kill Bill in particular, can be so boring and lifeless (It’s Only a Movie);
- his thinking about “the way in which what happens becomes the story of what happens… the way in which history becomes drama” in a review of the movies United 93 and World Trade Center (September 11 at the Movies)
- his studies of productions of Tennesee Williams‘ plays (Victims of Broadway I and Victims of Broadway II)
- his takedown of Alice Sebold‘s sappy The Lovely Bones (Novel of the Year)
Daniel Mendelsohn had a good interview on NPR last month.