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2006-04-10

Am I being too much of a snob?

Am I saving myself as much time and possible grief as I think I am when I refuse to read their blog if I click on a commenter's profile and find that they've listed The Da Vinci Code as a favorite book? Maybe there are some perfectly perspicacious people who nonetheless love this book that I'm missing. But I have severe doubts.

I can understand reading it as a pop-culture phenomenon: I did that, especially as I'd already read Holy Blood, Holy Grail from which the author drew much of his plot. I thought that was a beautifully crafted but mostly crap conspiracy theory then, and Dan Brown did a competent hack job of turning it all into a thriller, but no more. I have no gripe with people who read it from curiosity and gave it the ho-hum it deserves.

But to list it as a favorite? Mere iconoclasm does not a great book make. If the Grail conspiracy stuff has been a great eye-opener for one as to how the early Christians developed their dogma, and the controversies regarding the competing strands of Christian faith that ended up suppressed by Rome, fine. Have some residual affection for it for that.

But don't elevate a clunkily-written hack thriller into favorite book status just because it gives the Vatican and the fundies the finger. Please.

As for the upcoming film? As Brown's annoying stylistic lapses will have to be glossed over to sustain the pace of a movie thriller, the film actually has a chance of being a halfway decent rattling yarn if they don't take all the religious symbology stuff too portentously. How many believe that they will manage that? I will wait to kibbitz on someone else's DVD though - I refuse to part with one sestertius for the dubious pleasure of seeing it.

6 comments:

morgan said...

You've beaten me to it - I was planning on writing a post about this, but I'm not sure what more I have to say.

Except that it's a judgement that, like me, you might have made because you read science/speculative fiction, and we're used to strange new ideas.

People who list the Da Vinci Code as their favourite book because of its "originality" or "unusual" plot just need to read a more diverse range of stuff.

tigtog said...

First, to any lurkers reading this who liked the revelations in the Da Vinci code but felt somehow vaguely dissatisfied and that the book was over-rated, great! You have good judgement, and will enjoy better written meatier fare.

I come from a longstanding skeptical religious position, and have had no truck with standard dogma/creed for quite some time, read a lot about the Gnostics and other 'heretics' years ago, so all that stuff is a bit of a yawn. I can see why some of that information can be quite stunning to a lot of people, but that doesn't mean that Dan Brown has done an accurate job of presenting what we do know historically about the various heretic groups.

As to the writing style, I really wish Jeffrey Archer had written it instead - at least then the plot would flow neatly and the twists wouldn't be telegraphed quite so blatantly - it would be a better type of predictable.

It doesn't even encourage decent skeptical thinking, it's just an alternative tale about secret magical knowledge: it's Von Daniken for the noughties. And the fandom will probably limp on and on in the same turgid way.

It's not so much that someone listing TDVC as their favorite book hasn't read enough speculative fiction, it's more that they obviously have sadly not been in the habit of reading any good fiction, or they'd see just how ordinary a hack-thriller it is.

I'm not dissing the thriller genre. I'm a big fan of a competent crime-thriller - imagine what Ruth Rendell or Val McDiarmid could have made of these plot elements!

There are so many good books. It's a shame to waste too much time on bad ones.

Blue said...

I enjoyed it as a light fluffy - didn't have to think at all - book. It tied together a lot of information I had read in *serious* books.

Wouldn't list it as a favourite tho. DB has a specifically defined formula not seen since barbara cartland and worse I could not say.

I don't think ur a snob - just a person of refined tastes and discretion :-)

tigtog said...

bluebolt - not seen since Barbara Cartland?

That's harsh.

Doesn't mean you're wrong.

Anonymous said...

Brace yourself. I am going to say something really, really cruel.

The style is worth than Rowlings.

- barista

tigtog said...

[sucks teeth]