Joe Morgenstern’s “Gravity’” Review Is Slackened by Excess Readtime
By Eugenius Antonius, Senior Critic
Joe Morgenstern has always favored the lengthy analysis, but for its many strengths, “‘Gravity’ Exerts Cosmic Pull” is gratuitously overdrawn.
No stranger to the craft (and never particularly short on words), Morgenstern delivers what audiences have grown to expect: vivid, you-are-there description bolstered by an excess of background knowledge, keen insight, and that sense of gravitas he’s so often brought to the table.
Unfortunately what’s missing in Cosmic Pull is a sense of immediacy, which one would expect given the weighty and momentous subject matter he’s attempting to explore.
The net result of the Cosmic Pull‘s extravagant nearly 1550-word readtime is not merely that it’s too long, but that its narrative feels disjointed. Elements of plot are foregone for bits of character study then return; semiotics appear and disappear. The conclusion brings these together weakly, although the assumption itself is clear.
Audiences will be left with the sense that these qualms are primarily editorial in nature, but one assumes that an author so in control of his craft would be able to square excess against a strong reason for it. To be fair, it’s a fine piece—but to be honest, it’s also a bit of a letdown.