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The da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

30 Aug

 The title of this book (pictured left) is, you will notice, all in block capitals. Now go and do a Google search (or preferably any other search engine), and see how many people are spelling da Vinci, with a capital ‘D‘? Welcome to the end of civilisation people.

I get the appeal of books like this, As the Amazon review in the product description puts it ‘Dan Brown masterfully concocts an intelligent and lucid thriller that marries the gusto of an international murder mystery with a collection of fascinating esoterica culled from 2,000 years of Western history. No he doesn’t.

Then from the flap of the hardback ‘Breaking the mould of traditional suspense novels, The Da Vinci Code is simultaneously lightning-paced, intelligent and  intricately layered with  remarkable research and detail. From the opening pages to the unpredictable and stunning conclusion, Dan Brown proves himself to be a master storyteller’.

Coming cold to this you may think this is a literary novel that pulls no punches, perhaps something in the Umberto Eco style of writing, happily a cursory glance into its pages and you’ll know what you’re getting. A ridiculous amount of chapters for the amount of pages (583 of ’em (pages that is, the chapters number slightly less although I’m not sure of the exact number of chapters as I gave my copy away straight after getting to the end 100 odd chapters plus epilogue, making it roughly 5.8 pages per chapter. In fact one chapter contains only one word. The font as I recall was big as well.

Let me magnanimously, and begrudgingly, highlight the one good point of the book. Namely the pace of the thing. Without a doubt it’s one of the paciest books out there, going along at a veritable canter. With the big type and the simplistic plot the pages just fly by like a paper plane with a big jet engine attached to it, that somehow works. 

So what exactly is it that I hate about the book with a passion that would make a passion fruit blush?  Many things, the well known blunder about getting the directions wrong for his Paris car chase, the lack of intelligence shown by the authorities, the poor research, even basic facts are incorrect, the embarrassing hype telling us all of the intelligence of the book, I could go on but you get the idea.

It is though without doubt truly hilarious (if completely unintentionally) by turns, closely followed by offensive to everyone from the religious to the lovers of facts and everyone in between. Then of course there are the lectures,probably the key part to the book, in which you can learn all sorts of wrong facts to impress your friends with, often these lectures are condescending and you feel like you are being spoken to like you were a child.

Overall the book is decidely clumsy in the extreme in many ways, If you are a genuine fan of plot or well rounded characters or just good writing, there is nothing for you here, try some Barbara Cartland, I’m sure that will be an improvement.

I’m with Salman Rushdie on this one he exclaimed during a lecture, “Do not start me on ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ A novel so bad that it gives bad novels a bad name.”

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23 Comments

Posted by on 30/08/2012 in Fiction

 

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23 responses to “The da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

  1. boomiebol

    31/08/2012 at 00:03

    I’m with you on this. Read the book all because of the hype and everyone on the train had a copy…I didn’t want to be left out. Not at all impressed by it.

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    • StetotheJ

      31/08/2012 at 07:15

      I wouldn’t mind if it had good bits, but this is seemingly the way things are going now, overhyped works that offer little to the reading public apart from the idea that they may be ‘learning’ whilst enjoying a book, it isn’t even accurate for the most part. Sigh I despair of the masses who still love his book.

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  2. Bumba

    31/08/2012 at 02:29

    Yeah. I was disappointed when I read it too. Such is the state of the publishing world. Hang in there.

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    • StetotheJ

      31/08/2012 at 07:17

      It’s like anything else sales and profit, I think i’ll stick to the classics more, at least then I know what I’m getting. Worryingly though, I bet smeone sights this novel as their favourite and reads it once a year at least. Now that is spine chilling.

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      • Bumba

        31/08/2012 at 15:41

        You win that bet. Don’t you remember what a huge hit that book was?At least in US. I had several friends (not dummies) who raved and recommended that book to me. Then the movie was a big hit too.

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        • StetotheJ

          01/09/2012 at 16:44

          I did hide my head in the sand after i discovered the lack of delights this book brings, I never watched the movie but I hear it was terrible, at least they were consistent to the source material.

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  3. pennycoho

    01/09/2012 at 05:28

    Well I for one am very glad I read your review on this book because now I have a new word to use “paciest”, and a cool expression also – makes a passion fruit blush. Of course the book has nothing to offer. But if you said just that you would have had a very short review, so that is why I love the review of this book, your words made it a delightful read. 🙂

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    • StetotheJ

      01/09/2012 at 16:48

      I do my best to make up new words and phrases, I’m a bit like Shakespeare but without the ruff, and the back catalogue of awesome works, but I do have an accurate atlas of the world, so at least I won that Mr Shakespeare, who for some reason now seems to have become my arch nemesis since the start of this reply.

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  4. pennycoho

    01/09/2012 at 16:58

    Well if one needs an arch nemesis in the world of words, I couldn’t pick a better one for you! 🙂

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  5. philosophermouseofthehedge

    01/09/2012 at 22:44

    This is not one of his better books….although there are more intriguing conspiracy novels, this one did help by getting the public interested in stories like this – which helped a lot of other books get published and read that otherwise might not have gotten any attention?

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    • StetotheJ

      03/09/2012 at 12:59

      That is true and if a good story came out of it and got people thinking and enjoying books then i am all for it, it has put me off the whole conspiracy sub genre though. I may go back to it one day though.

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      • philosophermouseofthehedge

        03/09/2012 at 14:36

        There are some good ones in that genre – but as everything, you have to sort through
        Another good thing about Brown’s book is that it got people thinking about art/artist and his work in multiple areas and history – I don’t care if it’s a terrible book if after reading it people get up and go travel or read to find out more…and then actually discuss all that over dinner or drinks rather than just who won a sporting event or video game or dull sitcom on TV – or celebrities doing stupid things.
        Not my fav. book, but certainly served a purpose.
        Again, nice post

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        • StetotheJ

          05/09/2012 at 14:17

          That is a good point, it does seem to have increased enjoyment in the art world and symbols, and such like. And you are right about the inspiring people to read, that can never be a bad thing. I avoid celebrities like the plague too, although i like my clichés.

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  6. readinpleasure

    25/09/2012 at 12:48

    Well, StetotheJ, I am afraid I am going to be the oddo one here. I read da Vinci Code and loved it; Yes, the suspense and mystery appealed to me so mcuh. As for the facts, I do know that they could or most of them could be fallacies. But that could even be contentious. Arguably, the rituals described in the novel are all part of esoteric and occultic practices. The fibonacci sequence was the first I had heard of, so I cannot say much. Coming from Africa and knowing what I do about rituals and all that, I dare say that Dan Brown may have had some literary license in expanding his plot. But for me, these could be real enough. He may be good at what he does, so much that facts and fiction may be blurred. Incidentally, I have read his other novels, Digital Fortress and Angels and Demons. Following you now.

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    • StetotheJ

      25/09/2012 at 18:19

      I always welcome an alternative opinion, it keeps everyone’s day interesting. You are right he is good at what he does, the whole fast paced cliffhanger ending chapter technique is always going to keep people hooked. I like that phrase ‘literary license’ I think that sums up his books well. It is intriguing to see how people from different cultures see the ideas in books differently. I have never thought of viewing it from that point of view before. Thankyou for your comments, they have definitely given me ideas to think on.

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  7. Alastair

    17/04/2013 at 20:23

    Now I’m scared to watch the film. I do like this review. I don’t think you panned it as much as skilleted.

    100 chapters?? Apparently Angels and Demons (or probably Angels And Demons) has 138. When I read of a night I tend to read to the end of a chapter before switching the light off. Sounds like it would take a couple of years for me to read this one. At least the speed would stop me falling asleep. Or maybe the chapters are so short so that you can use a search engine to check the facts 😉

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    • StetotheJ

      17/04/2013 at 20:28

      There are facts? Angels And Demons, that amused me greatly. When chapters contain one word and a full stop (so high marks for that), you know you need to pick up something more intellectual….like a colouring book.

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  8. Alastair

    17/04/2013 at 20:40

    Haha that made me laugh.

    Could be that Dan Brown thinks that when someone says it is a work of fiction, all of the facts become ficts. Grammar and punctuation always give it one point in my … book. (Sorry – nicked your pun)

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    • StetotheJ

      17/04/2013 at 20:46

      I like your theory…it has merit, so would probably be dismissed by Brown. You didn’t nick it you..plagarised it, sounds so much more kosher. I always claim I am paying homage, people like me tea leaving their stuff when I say that.

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  9. Zeljka

    20/04/2013 at 21:59

    Great review! My thoughts exactly when I read the book! And imagine that, I’ve read it before whole this hype started around and thought it (despite being hefty in the size) just one of those books you would read on the beach just to pass the time and discard afterwards… So imagine surprise when all the newspapers started raving about it. At first I thought something was wrong with me if everybody liked it so much! That’s the power of good marketing I guess – makes thinking for oneself a bit harder than usual 😉

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    • StetotheJ

      22/04/2013 at 17:29

      Exactly, when people are told something is good they read it and agree, there aren’t enough critical people out there, I told you we’d get on, we have a similar mindset and anyone who dislikes the Da Vinci Code is a life long friend already!

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