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David Denby Digs Deep in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

In response to David Denby’s 864‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on New Yorker

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Fresh, original takes on over-analyzed material are always a breath of fresh air, especially when approached as tactically and systematically as David Denby in his newest work, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

Very astute, his senses ever acute as he stalks his subject, he’s a panther sizing up his prey. He moves ever so carefully, watching, waiting for the slightest misstep. Suddenly, he pounces and sinks his teeth into the meat of his material, tearing off a juicy detail most lesser authors would overlook. These juicy details are what really makes David Denby’s Games: Catching Fire stand out.

Mr. Denby has the ability to look upon his subject from multiple perspectives, and in doing so, notice things even the subject’s creator would miss. A subject that is translated from another media, for example, may lose something in translation. And despite the creator’s best efforts to adapt (or conceal), people like Denby will always notice. In a way, it gives him an unfair advantage over those that are not as learned, and it can even be viewed as being overly-critical. But the author somehow finds a way to incorporate it in a manner that enhances his work, rather than detract from it. The audience will no doubt see this, and appreciate his keen eye for detail.  

However, this ability can be a double-edged sword, even for someone as apt as Denby. Indeed, his elaboration of the subject, as well as the history preceding it, carry on for far too long and go into minute detail. It is not blatant enough to ruin his work, but it will definitely turn off some readers who either already know the back-story or don’t want to know the main story as intimately (or both).

Needless to say, this is still a fine piece any fan of literature will appreciate and enjoy. The author showcases a clever and unique talent to sniff out attributes that might otherwise go undetected. In doing so, he raises the bar for his peers and hopefully the awareness of his audience as well. And they would all be wise to watch this “panther” closely. For he will hunt again.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation