Monday, May 01, 2006

The Da Vinci Code. As conspiracy theory goes...

.. it's poorly written tripe. :D Although I think that this:

"Conspiracy theories are modern day mythology, and the best window into the mind of a society is through its mythology."

was a good point well made, (by someone on a forum I frequent).

Hmm, well, I read the book and I was disappointed. I hadn't been expecting much, but I had expected better quality writing. I nearly gave up in disgust at the first obstacle, which was the prologue. :) It was all such a cliché.

Overall, I found the plot predictable and the characterisation flat. And an albino as henchman/villain. Oh please! (Scars, the one-armed man, excessive dentistry, dwarf, funny odour, etc, etc: over-familiar motifs in film and literature. Deformity/unusual appearance=Bad Guy). Yaaaaawn.

As for the protagonists, Brown kept telling his audience how super-intelligent they were and having them drift off into reveries about how damn clever they were, but he didn't let them show it. Just kept telling us.

For a book that bangs on about the sacred feminine, I found the depiction of female characters unconvincing and at odds with that concept. Sophie Neveu, one of the main characters, started out as fairly dynamic and decisive, but after her initial rescue of Langdon from the Louvre, became a mere hanger-on. Despite her years of training as a child to solve her grandfather's riddles, she seemed thick as pig-shite and as a limp as a lettuce, and the male characters were pretty much the only ones to move the plot on.

The spirituality seemed based on the male orgasm, and woman as receptacle or conduit. It still seemed the objectification of woman rather than lifting of her status.

None of the protectors of the grail seem to be female. There are scenes where a nun appears to have a mission, observes the killer on a task and some suspense is built up as to what she will do or attempt to do. An anti-climax follows: her mission seems limited to making futile phone calls - and getting murdered. I usually like books where the expectations of the reader are subverted intentionally, but felt this was just clumsy.

The separation of the twins seemed very Star Wars. :D But let's not get into the mythology of Star Wars, it's far too much fun.

On the bright side, I did read the book in one sitting, (but that's not unusual for me).

I find it unsettling the way that Brown implies that the history he depicts is true. At the beginning of the book he writes a page of facts, which he has utilised in the tale, as if to provide a sense of this being a "true story".

"The Priory of Sion--a European secret society founded in 1099--is a real organization. In 1975 Paris' Biliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as the Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Sandro Botticelli, Victor Hugo and Leonardo da Vinci." (The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown)

I expect that some readers would read that as saying that these people were in fact members of the Priory of Sion. Yet it's not even certain that the Priory of Sion existed in the eleventh century, as far as I am aware. I also think that the documents mentioned were found to be fraudulent.

He also writes,
"The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic sect that has become controversial recently due to allegations of brainwashing, coercion, and a dangerous practice known as 'corporal mortification'. Opus Dei has recently completed construction of a $47 million, 133,000-square-foot American Headquarters at 243 Lexington Avenue in New York City." (The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown)

But all he's doing is reporting allegations about the sect and pointing out it has a big building! :D Yet the implication is that the sect is as he portrays it.

I don't know, this book annoys me on several levels. Obviously it is fiction, and sold as fiction, but some people seem to take it far more seriously than they should.

I think it is poorly written and executed. Also the ideas presented are not new or even particularly shocking (as you might think from the uproar it caused in some places). Over-hyped tripe. :D

1 comment:

Abby said...

Bravo! I agree. Having read the Da Vinci Code I now recommend the Asti Spumante Code, which is a parody rip-off which will make you laugh your head off.