Wednesday, 16 September 2009

80 MILLION PEOPLE 'CAN' BE WRONG

There’s a mini review of Dan Brown’s latest tripe here.

Please don’t buy it. Not for yourself, not for a friend. Even when, by tomorrow, every charity shop in the land bears a profusion of copies, just give the nice old man / lady behind the counter £1.99 and place the ‘book’ humanely in the nearest bin – a tiny gesture akin to throwing bits of polystyrene at a line of advancing tanks, but a liberating and virtuous one nonetheless.

You can tell I’m not a fan. Am I embittered that such ridiculous sums thrown at one ‘novelist’ means publishers taking fewer risks with new writers? A little. Angry that swathes of shelf space in bookshops that could be filled with some of the brilliant, unknown writers out there sags under the weight of this pulp? Some. Mostly, though, I despair at its utter lack of ambition and talent, the clumsy prose, the facile, schoolboy-ish plotting (okay, I haven’t read it, but did read the last one in some torturous experiment). I wince that some will call it a 'taut thriller', 'good for what it is', a (deep breath) 'page-turner'. Some (of my friends) will even say, Bet you wish you’d written it (implying that I would sacrifice all artistic sensibility, self-respect and sense of aesthetic to be obscenely rich). Well, no. I would not be prepared to forever be haunted by voices in my head, taunting me with sentences I wrote like this one: Although not overly handsome in a classical sense, the forty-year-old Langdon had what his female colleagues referred to as an ‘erudite’ appeal — wisp of gray in his thick brown hair, probing blue eyes, an arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athlete.

I rest my case.

10 comments:

Jack Harris said...

Quite right Tom.He should at least be made to watch the last two England v. Australia ODI's.By the way I didn't think Trevor's book deserved to make the short list - it was pale compared to much of his ealier novels.

TOM J VOWLER said...

Ha, Jack. That or be made to face Brett Lee in the nets sans pads.

Shame about the WT, especially as I bought it for someone's b'day recently.

Nicola Morgan said...

"Bet you wish you’d written it" - yep, that's what they'll say. It just about sums up how little many non-writers know about writers.

David J Griffin said...

Well written, Tom. I've quoted you on a recent blog post of mine concerning The Lost Symbol, if that OK.

TOM J VOWLER said...

You're welcome, David.

Victor said...

http://tinyurl.com/rdx3hj

Ahem!

TOM J VOWLER said...

Yes, Victor, sneering at DB is almost a cliche. A necessary one, though, I find.

TOM J VOWLER said...

In the Guardian: "His miracle is to have made Jeffrey Archer read like Dostoevsky in comparison."

James said...

I tried to read the book once. I didn't turn the first page. A man walks down the corridor of a museum. He hears a noise. Fast food, bubblegum, soap opera, game show, Top Shop, shiny things, fluffy dice, bingo, Burberry, Posh Spice book of nonsense. Harry Potter for adults...

When I was 17 my Nan bought me a Robert Ludlum novel and I wrote bollocks to this on the first page.

Barb said...

Just in case you haven't seen it:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/sep/22/the-lost-symbol-dan-brown