Sunday 30 April 2006

It took me years to write, will you take a look?

I'm now about 50 pages into the Da Vinci Code... and I'm thinking I should probably stop reading it. There are a couple of main reasons for this:

1) I have not been grabbed by the plot. I'm told that if you are not grabbed from the first page, you may as well not bother. At the moment I don't give a rat's arse who killed who or why.

2) Dan Brown's writing style is annoying me. He'd no doubt be flattered by the comparison, but I'm reacting to the way he writes in the same way as I react when I read Salman Rushdie. When I read Rushdie, it always irks me that the smug voice of the author is always far louder than the voices of any of his characters. For me, Brown is the same - except that his lumpen text has not so far shown a single trace of Rushdie's redeeming ability to write absolutely beautiful, floating prose. Here is an author who has read a couple of books on the Louvre and on minor Christian sects and is determined to browbeat his reader into mistaking him for someone with a genuine in-depth knowledge of the things he is writing about.

I'm not fooled.

I am less than impressed with the writing too. In the first paragraph - in fact in the first words of the book - we are introduced to a "renowned curator". He's not just a curator; he's a renowned curator. I know you have to cut an author a certain amount of slack and allow him some shorthand to allow his plot to move... but in the first two words? There's more: we are told that The Jardins de Tuileries "literally inspired the birth of the Impressionist movement". Really? Do you know what "literally" means, Dan Brown? He's also extremely rude and high-handed in his attitude to the French and to France, "a country reknowned for machismo, womanizing and diminutive insecure leaders like Napoleon and Pepin the Short".

I could go on, but I've only read 50 pages, and I wouldn't want to pre-judge....

I'm going to give it to the end of the weekend, and if the plot hasn't got interesting enough to drown out all this other stuff, I'm going to stop reading it.

Life's too short and I've got comics to read.

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