Molly Haskell

Selected Works

Non-Fiction
Haskell has produced a cultural map of not only her sister’s experience, but of gender roles and transsexualism in a world increasingly governed by notions of individual identity. My Brother My Sister is tender, honest, informed, and at times a humorous must-read for anyone who has ever struggled to discover who they really are.
Both historical survey and polemic, this book addresses the ways in which Hollywood, and cinema in general, has stereotyped women, but also points to the numerous examples of women subverting and challenging these stereotypes.
"A work of considerable depth and subtlety" (the New York Times) : In 1984 Haskell's husband, Andrew Sarris, came down with a mysterious and near-fatal illness. During his six-month hospitalization, she confronts not only the daily fear of his death but the realization of her own immense dependency.
Essays and interviews, ranging from interviews with Hollywood legends such as Gloria Swanson and John Wayne, to celebrations of the comic verve of Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett, to ruminations on literary figures such as Truman Capote and his Holly Golightly and Jane Austen's Emma.
Part of the Yale University Press American Icon series. An examination of how and why the book and movie have such a hold on the imagination. The character of Scarlett, bold, outrageous and yet forgivable, is unlike any heroine before or since.
Selected Articles
A piece about movie theatres and how they've changed through the years.
Molly's personal take on the hit tv show.
A book review of “Burt Lancaster: An American Life,” by Kate Buford.
A unique view of the confrontations between men and women, the darker side of men, and how both sexes react to these differences.
Celebrated New York Times humor piece about Molly's husband's driving, men's driving in general, and the misconceptions about women drivers.

My Brother My Sister: Story of a Transformation

On a visit to New York, the brother of well-known film critic Molly Haskell dropped a bombshell: Nearing sixty, married with children, Chevey revealed he was transsexual and would begin to live openly as a woman. Despite her longstanding liberal views, Haskell was dumbfounded.

In My Brother My Sister: Story of a Transformation, she recounts the steps in Chevey’s transition, while candidly exploring her own emotional journey, from shock and bewilderment after the initial announcement to a place of acceptance, empathy, and love for her sister Ellen. Throughout the book Haskell turns her critic’s eye on herself, but also broadens her lens to include psychoanalytical and scientific research, meditations on sexual anomalies in art and mythology as well as previously published memoirs such as Jan Morris’s classic Conundrum.

This is a memoir that pulls no punches in its exploration of a controversial, delicate subject. Through Chevey’s transformation into Ellen, Haskell has produced a cultural map of not only her sister’s experience, but of gender roles and transsexualism in a world increasingly governed by notions of individual identity. My Brother My Sister is tender, honest, informed, and at times a humorous must-read for anyone who has ever struggled to discover who they really are.

Praise from James Wolcott, The Wolcott Blog, Vanity Fair, September 7, 2013