Daniel Mendelsohn brightens the dour New York Review of Books like few other contributors. This is partly thanks to his subject matter: neither Iraq nor climate change but literature, theater and the movies. It’s also thanks to his—not style, exactly; Mr. Mendelsohn’s a gifted writer, but the prose of his essays is less lyrical than that of his books, The Lost (2006) and The Elusive Embrace (1999). What distinguishes his criticism, rather, is a willingness to address not just the arts but their reception. He writes reviews as cultural commentary, and he’s more or less mastered the form.
Friday, August 15, 2008
In the New York Observer this week, I review Daniel Mendelsohn's How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken, a collection of his (brilliant) essays: