DaVinci Code – Dan Brown

I gave in and read this, although I was wary; too much fuss. It turns out this is one of those hugely successful books I can’t explain to myself. But then I suppose tornados are exciting too. A tornado may be formidable and awe-inspiring, but mostly they are brash, messy affairs.

This novel certainly gets your attention, but then it’s mostly sound and fury. Lots of interesting bits of history flying around, gone before you can get a good look at them, and then disappearing into the general chaos. The premise is intriguing, but it plays out in a most disappointing way at the end. Wise old woman scolds men for running after the wrong things, and the reader is left feeling scolded too. Good trick if you can pull it off: set the reader up for something big and them make them feel guilty for wanting it. Except not every reader will fall for it.

Finally, in this novel at least, Brown is (and I’ve thought about this for a while before decided on this word) stylistically clumsy. There’s no rhythm in the prose, and every other sentence is built on the same diagram, ala: Putting her pen down, the reviewer contemplated what to say next. Scanning the dictionary, she found no better way to put it. Contemplating why this novel frustrated her, she finally went to bed.

8 Replies to “DaVinci Code – Dan Brown”

  1. couldn’t agree more, sarai. it’s difficult to explain the public clamor except for the intellectual and spiritual emptiness of most people’s lives.
    having read the nag hamadi texts twenty years ago, to tell you the truth i found more plausibility in Phillip Dick’s “Valis” stories. A lot more scholarship into early gnosticism there, too, as well as genuine inspiration.

  2. As a biochemistry major (Pre-Med) and avid reader that is perfectly content with her spiritual life, I have to disagree with the comment that the reason people enjoy the book is because of “intellectual and spiritual emptiness”. I found it a welcome deviation from the modern day dramatic/suspense novels. It has wonderful historical references and just enough to allow the reader to want to explore more for themselves. Hopefully, this book will encourage people to explore art and religious history more than just taking other people’s word for it.

  3. Maybe the reason of the popularity underlied “the Da Vinci code” is just the same as those HollyWood movies, though filled with clues and premises that turns out leading you to nowhere, still you are intrigued to go through the whole book.

  4. For starters, NO ONE who has studied art history (even a 101 course) refers to Leonardo da Vinci as “da Vinci.” Vinci is the town where he was born–he is always referred to as “Leonardo.”
    That glaring but basic mistake sets the tone for many art history inaccuracies. It’s difficult to suspend one’s disbelief when the author doesn’t research the basics.

    The book also had childish “cliffhangers” at chapter’s ending, thin character portrayal and an obvious ending that “begs” for a sequel.

    I won’t even comment on the historical dating innacuracies.

    Bah! This book is an embarrassment to read.


  5. A friend at work assured me The Da Vinci Code is an AMAZING book, but I had to read Brown’s previous work “Angels and Demons” first. So, I tried, but I couldn’t even finish it. It was SO awful. Predictable, boring and stereotypical are the first three words that come to mind.

    Dave Berry recently skewered Brown’s writing style in one of his funnier columns. Enjoy!!

  6. I want to say how refreshing it is to see how many people agree with me that the writing of these books is so bad it is impossible to read with any enjoyment. Then, I would like to ask these discerning readers what they do enjoy reading.

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