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Joe Morgenstern’s “Catching Fire: . .” Finds Its Mark

In response to Joe Morgenstern’s 700‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Wall Street Journal

By ,

A thoroughly pleasurable experience and a worthy contribution to literature is Joe Morgenstern’s “‘Catching Fire’: Spectacle and Soul.”

The author lures the reader into his world and never lets them go. He employs clever analogy and vivid storytelling to manifest imagery so lush, one can almost reach out and touch it. The experience is so tangible at times, it expands beyond the preconceived confines of the premise into a realm where the only barriers are the reader’s imagination.

Only a few potential hazards manifest themselves on this otherwise pristine horizon. Though mostly maintaining an appropriate level of detachment from his subject, Morgenstern occasionally treads the line between critical analysis and straight commentary. Fortunately, the author’s ability and clear opposition to status quo don’t allow him stray too far in this direction.

The other infinitely more dangerous hazard is the author’s propensity for disclosing too much too soon. As the reader will no doubt expect a certain level of intrigue and mystery, that level is diminished considerably by the lengths to which the author’s assessment extends. Hence, what is a solid piece of literary investigation could have been significantly more enticing had it not painted more of the portrait than necessary.

“‘Catching Fire’: …” is no masterpiece by any means, but it has the makings of one with a little fine-tuning. Morgenstern’s talent simply cannot be denied, and the reader would be advised to follow his future offerings with great interest.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation