I just happened to see on Facebook that Dan Brown has a new Robert Langdon book out in May. I want to read it, but does anyone think that the plot sounds like a good idea...like at all? He's using a centuries old classic poem for the plot of a modern-day thriller. It just rings of cheapness. I still look forward to reading it though.
Well, Matthew Pearl did a nice job with the Dante Club, Poe Shadow, and Last Dickens. I think it is up to the modern reader to take responsibility for their own education in the classics in order to have an informed opinion about how well any contemporary author treats these works in their own literary world. Dan Brown may not be Dante, but we should not forget that Dante was exiled for his work and held in extreme contempt for the way that he treated contemporary society and his use of a vulgar modern language in his Divine Comedy.
You have to be an absolute idiot to read any of Dan Brown's novels (I've read all of them). I look forward to reading the new one to appreciate the 1 star reviews, some of which are written much better than any of his novels.
In his past books, Brown has twisted and mangled history and religion, and made many laughable errors. There are a lot of good novels out there that draw on historical situations, but Brown's aren't among them. It will be interesting to see what he tries to do to "The Inferno," because it's a classic and widely-known if not especially well-read piece. Literature professors will no doubt have to correct students who will take Brown's overlay of the fake discipline of symbology to be the true, core meaning of Dante's work. It would probably be an interesting class period to look at what Brown says in contrast to both the reception of "The Inferno" in its own time, and the overall scholarly view of what Dante accomplished.
Dan Brown does not pretend to be an Historian. He is a writer of Fiction. If he has "...twisted and mangled history (sic) and religion (sic), and made many laughable errors..." he has done so with full poetic license, and without misleading anyone. The end result of his work is, and has always been, and no doubt will continue to be, fantastic entertainment for readers. Mr. Brown is a novelist. To cast aspersions at his work, based upon your false equivalencies, is to miss the point of his work completely. Methink you ought to focus your criticisms elsewhere.
I just say it as I see it. Brown has made a lot of claims about the authenticity of the historical background in his books that don't stand up to a five-minute search on Wikipedia, let alone any deeper knowledge. Poetic license is one thing, but basing your plots on things that are complete reversals of fact just make you look foolish.
And there are plenty of criticisms of Brown's work. He writes the same story again and again, with the exact same character mix. He doesn't show, he tells-he lectures the reader again and again and again about the same point. There's actually very little suspense for novels that are of the "one long scream" variety. In The Lost Symbol, the plot movement depended almost entirely on people being completely unreasonable or entirely stupid. He talked about places and organizations I do know something about, and was, again, wrong.
I believe these are valid criticisms. I may find a different sort of entertainment than you do in Brown's work.
On the contrary, it was because he claimed in the foreword to Da Vinci Code that it was based on non-existent "historic documents" that so many readers were gulled by the book. As for focusing criticisms elsewhere: I've read all of Brown's books -- a lot of time on my hands -- and the only thing more annoying than how bad a writer he is, is the repetitiousness. "Here's my plot in the military!!" "Here's my plot in CERN!!" "Here's my plot in Rome!!" "Look, look, here it is... in PARIS!!" "How about in Washington?" And soon, in Florence.
As a writer who lives and breathes Dante, I'm looking forward to reading Brown's book. While approaching it with some trepidation, I expect it to at least be entertaining. If nothing else it will introduce readers to the incredible Divine Comedy.
He's never seemed clever enough to me to have tried to gull people. I would guess that if you've never read any history, secular or religious, he might seem to have found something, but otherwise - foul on you for being taken in by Brown. He actually gave a number of interviews with the Da Vinci Code claiming that the history as he told it in the book was true; he was convinced of its accuracy. He may have been reined in a bit after people began to point out the holes in the story. Of course, since he actually did virtually none of the research himself, his credibility is nil. He also litters his books with idiotic errors (Islam is a language, communion in the Christian church is actually stolen from the Aztecs). When you have to base your plot on things like that, it really puts a pin in the balloon. But the worst part about his "history" is that he has to lecture the readers for hundreds of pages. He could have halved the length of DAV, put in a few items that seemed to be contradictory to received history, actually had some action, and maybe have had a halfway-decent thriller. Instead, he's now someone I read for the trainwreck effect.
But I would agree that he's a comically bad writer. He has a set list of characters; you can make one-to-one correspondences throughout the last three books. They are cardboard figures; his main characters are primarily defined by their clothing choices (tweed jackets, Mickey Mouse watches, Ferragamo shoes). He is repetitious; his character have to have everything explained three times (while simultaneously being the most brilliant minds in their fields); what little plot movement there is depends on the characters' doing the absolutely wrong thing or behaving against all logic. The main character in the last three books is a Gary Stu. It's really a clinic in how not to write an exciting and suspenseful book.
I should also say that I was a bookstore employee for many years, and so besides my own reading I've seen Brown's discredited sources come and go. I've always thought that his success was largely due to good promotion, public ignorance, and the enthusiasm for his anti-Christian message.
You should be careful about self-promotion; Amazon tends to delete your posts when they find it, and they do have forums for that.
That being said, keep in mind that Brown has brought unpleasant attention to a number of places he's talked about in his last three books. I'm wondering what he'll do to public understanding of the Inferno and the Divine Comedy. As I said before, I'm sure that literature professors will have to debunk Brown's myths about the Inferno.
Maryam, thanks for the heads- up. I was in Italy earlier this year, what do you mean by 'unpleasant attention'? I think we need to wait until the book comes out before we make too many assumptions. However, I'm a big Umberto Eco fan, so I'm not setting the bar high.
Literature is closer to Dan Brown's expertise, so, maybe this time there will be less mistakes regarding facts. So, maybe professors will be glad.
We like to direct criticism about Brown's errors into "it is only a novel" wiggle, but I have to agree with Miryam that some errors are indeed laughable.When I read DVC I knew that Dan Brown wrote a humor book (as Danielle Brown), so when I encountered msitakes I was thinking for some time it was fun, ironical etc. Until I realized that this isn't another ironic piece in type of Foucault's Pendulum, that the author actually is deadly serious. For example art history was from the book Templar Revelation. No art history professor would believe in such things, or teach it to his/her students. Etc. So, while the stories can be very entertaining to many, the facts are wrong, ( and be distracting to many) and I just wonder why the book DVC was advertised as "imppecably researched."
This all hype about veracity what annoys people, as other novels even they have artwork, places and documents which exist in real life, those novels don't advertise it, as people know those are real things.
I found it funny that "his character have to have everything explained three times (while simultaneously being the most brilliant minds in their fields)" or for example that Langdon was surprised that Leonardo developed mirror image writing, things were hilarious some times (any 12 year sold who learns more about Leonardo, knows it, well, in general Langdon as Harvard professor wasn't believable, as a detective, yes).
And yes, you right, Dan Brown defended "accuracy" of this facts at the beginning.
Also the book Digital Fortress was heavily infested with mistakes. This was picked up by press in Spain, people were surprised about reinventing Seville.
Check it out, lower in the article is the part "Seville in Literature, Film" the is a quote form article by Alvaro Sanchez Leon who wrote article January/February 2006 issue of the Spanish-language magazine Epoca, actually he quotes there a person from University of Seville where art history courses are given. (Remember, Dan Brown claimed he took art history classes there). Also at University of Seville short classes during Fall for foreign students the department of Geography and History. Well, this university shed new light in the press about Dan Brown's claim. Somehow their statemetn didn't surprise me, not anymore.
Or he claimed that his wife was an art historian, remember? Article from Guardian
Do you remember also that he described his wife as "a painter and an art historian" and after curious researchers failed to find the alma mater, he started to describe her as art history buff. This what the article in Guardian states. What is with publishing industry and those inflated claims? Do the the authors who do good research but don't overblow their claims are in disadvantage? This tells a lot about the publishing industry in the last 20 or so years.
Apparently some of the locations he's used in DVC and Angels and Demons have had to post disclaimers about the misleading/wrong things Brown has said about them. There's no pagan temple under St. Sulpice (I believe it is), for example. The original first meridian did not go through the area he claimed. Other locations in Rome and Paris have also had to dissuade tourist about Brown's claims. At this remove I don't remember all of those I read about when the books were more current.
I don't know whether or not tourists at the U. S. Capitol have been looking for some of the features Brown claims for that building. A quick check on their site and discussions of the artwork make some of his claims seem awfully silly.
Given its source, I've always assumed that the "impeccable research" comment was given for some form of professional consideration or payment, or out of honest misunderstanding.
There's some fine historical fiction out there, and some amusing novels and thrillers that use historical background well and don't have to turn events completely around (the vote on the Aryan heresy wasn't only two against, it was only two for it, for example) in an attempt to justify their premise. And sometimes less detail is more. What I do think is that Brown was the recipient of great promotion, and profited from the modern love for conspiracy theories and some fairly common anti-Catholic prejudice.
Maryam, your tireless, never-ending crusade against Dan Brown only undermines your arguments, and exposes them as more emotional than logical. ..and who are the morons that think this book is non-fiction? I'm dying to meet some of these idiots, but I haven't yet encountered one of them. I guess I should go stand outside St. Sulpice and wait for the onslaught of idiocy?
Dan Brown is not for you, Maryam. Why do you continue to follow him, and read his every word? and then spend the rest of your life trying to convince people who enjoy his writing that they shouldn't be enjoying it so much... Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.
Well said Fay, and VERY well said E. Foster my words exactly. Maryam is getting on my nerves. I think she might be one of those "Jesus Freaks" she seems to be stuck on the religious stuff too much. Personalty, I think she is a pain in the butt and being a total B-tch!!
I read him as fiction because he writes fiction. If he notes a historic place or fact that sounds interesting I investigate it online and in books, just like I do with television shows, I don't just take his word for it because he is a fiction writer. My biggest complaint about this book that is not even out is the price that I think is ridiculous, even more so for the Kindle version. The price is actually outrageous, and a preferred writer of mine regarding historical issues is Steve Berry.
You hit the nail on the head. Dan Brown writes Fiction. He bases that fiction on parts of history which makes for an interesting read. If someone is looking for historical accuracy, then go find a historical novel about the subject. I enjoy Mr. Brown's writing. If others don't thats too bad for them. Maybe it is just written over their head.