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Boudleaux C Merkin

The Blessed Dan Brown.

I believe that there is a new Dan Brown novel about to be unleashed on the poor book reading public. I was given the Da Vinci code  a couple of years ago by a particularly nasty minded  friend. I could not believe how fucken badly that book was written.
A couple of incidents occur ... a French detective, carrying a loaded gun, bullies an English constable -- yes a fucken constable -- into letting him into the country!!!!
A six foot four albino monk carries a gunshot wounded man, while escaping from the police, through Park Lane --- PARK LANE IN CENTRAL LONDON JUST UP FROM HYDE PARK CORNER, ACROSS FROM ROTTEN ROW, DOWN THE FUCKEN ROAD FROM MARBLE ARCH, OKAY? --and he manages, un-noticed , to find a hospital  which hospital would that be? Sorry ... I'm getting a bit Aaaaaargh ...
Better to read what Geoffrey Pullum has to say ..

Unfortunately I had no better idea of what to do with my time, so I opened The Da Vinci Code.

I am still trying to come up with a fully convincing account of just what it was about his very first sentence, indeed the very first word, that told me instantly that I was in for a very bad time stylistically.

The Da Vinci Code may well be the only novel ever written that begins with the word "renowned." Here is the paragraph with which the book opens. The scene (says a dateline under the chapter heading, "Prologue") is the Louvre, late at night:

"Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery. He lunged for the nearest painting he could see, a Caravaggio. Grabbing the gilded frame, the seventy-six-year-old man heaved the masterpiece toward himself until it tore from the wall and Saunière collapsed backward in a heap beneath the canvas."

I think what enabled the first word to tip me off that I was about to spend a number of hours in the company of one of the worst prose stylists in the history of literature was this. Putting curriculum vitae details into complex modifiers on proper names or definite descriptions is what you do in journalistic stories about deaths; you just don't do it in describing an event in a narrative. So this might be reasonable text for the opening of a newspaper report the next day:

"Renowned curator Jacques Saunière died last night in the Louvre at the age of 76."

But Brown packs such details into the first two words of an action sequence — details of not only his protagonist's profession but also his prestige in the field. It doesn't W*** here. It has the ring of utter ineptitude. The details have no relevance, of course, to what is being narrated (Saunière is fleeing an attacker and pulls down the painting to trigger the alarm system and the security gates). We could have deduced that he would be fairly well known in the museum trade from the fact that he was curating at the Louvre.

The writing goes on in similar vein, committing style and word choice blunders in almost every paragraph (sometimes every line). Look at the phrase "the seventy-six-year-old man". It's a complete let-down: we knew he was a man — the anaphoric pronoun "he" had just been used to refer to him. (This is perhaps where "curator" could have been slipped in for the first time, without "renowned", if the passage were rewritten.) Look at "heaved the masterpiece toward himself until it tore from the wall and Saunière collapsed backward in a heap beneath the canvas." We don't need to know it's a masterpiece (it's a Caravaggio hanging in the Louvre, that should be enough in the way of credentials, for heaven's sake). Surely "toward him" feels better than "toward himself" (though I guess both are grammatical here). Surely "tore from the wall" should be "tore away from the wall". Surely a single man can't fall into a heap (there's only him, that's not a heap). And why repeat the name "Saunière" here instead of the pronoun "he"? Who else is around? (Caravaggio hasn't been mentioned; "a Caravaggio" uses the name as an attributive modifier with conventionally elided head noun "painting". That isn't a mention of the man.)

Well, actually, there is someone else around, but we only learn that three paragraphs down, after "a thundering iron gate" has fallen (by the way, it's the fall that makes a thundering noise: there's no such thing as a thundering gate). "The curator" (his profession is now named a second time in case you missed it) "...crawled out from under the canvas and scanned the cavernous space for someplace to hide" (the colloquial American "someplace" seems very odd here as compared with standard "somewhere"). Then:

"A voice spoke, chillingly close. 'Do not move.'

On his hands and knees, the curator froze, turning his head slowly.

Only fifteen feet away, outside the sealed gate, the mountainous silhouette of his attacker stared through the iron bars. He was broad and tall, with ghost-pale skin and thinning white hair. His irises were pink with dark red pupils."

Just count the infelicities here. A voice doesn't speak —a person speaks; a voice is what a person speaks with. "Chillingly close" would be right in your ear, whereas this voice is fifteen feet away behind the thundering gate. The curator (do we really need to be told his profession a third time?) cannot slowly turn his head if he has frozen; freezing (as a voluntary human action) means temporarily ceasing all muscular movements. And crucially, a silhouette does not stare! A silhouette is a shadow. If Saunière can see the man's pale skin, thinning hair, iris color, and red pupils (all at fifteen feet), the man cannot possibly be in silhouette.

Brown's writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad. In some passages scarcely a word or phrase seems to have been carefully selected or compared with alternatives. I slogged through 454 pages of this syntactic swill, and it never gets much better. Why did I keep reading? Because London Heathrow is a long way from San Francisco International, and airline magazines are thin, and two-month-old Hollywood drivel on a small screen hanging two seats in front of my row did not appeal, that's why. And why did I keep the book instead of dropping it into a Heathrow trash bin? Because it seemed to me to be such a fund of lessons in how not to write

I believe his latest book as well as topping the best seller list also tops the most often donated book list at Life-Line

I have so far managed to avoid having to either read his books or watch the films. Aren't I lucky?

I brought this trash home from the library for Mr WJ and he skimmed through it, but refused the 2nd offering from Mr Brown.

i'm glad I didn't waste any money in a bookshop

The Blessed/Boudleaux:

The book, Da Vinci's Code was around here. I have no idea who brought it or where it went. I started it and my guess is that I was very tired and that is why I put it down. Beginning a book with the word "renowned" would not have had me condemn the writing though i must admit tae nae idea why I never picked it up again.
PS did read a very guid book aboot "mossad". David Orlofsky is the writer and while the writing is not that guid the revelations are extremely interesting. Orlovsky was a member of mossad and "The Other Side of Deception" is his second expose; the first was co-written by Clair (Clare) Hoy, retired journalist who leaned very far to the right...Hoy worked for Conrad Black.

Ah found Broons books entertainin enuff in a very light way
Ah didnae start readin wae any preconcepshuns aboot it/him bein pish

In a pulp fikshun sorta way its awright, not tae be takin in any way seriously fur either ra story ur ra style
Boudleaux C Merkin

Despite whit Ah said aboot the book Ah akchully read it tae the end. Ah think Ah wiz mesmerised like a wee bug-eyed frog by a snake. Very Happy

Or mibbes yer caurpark tunnilt haun couldny let go o it eh? Laughing

Ta, Boodly, I think I'll skip Brown's new opus.   I admit to having had "The Da Vinci Code" (and shouldn't that be "Leonardo Code?) from the library.   My excuse, if one is needed, is that it's a pretty lousy library so you take what you can get.

The WORST book, though, is "A Cotswold Tragedy" by one Bassett Green.  It's full of wonderfully bad writing and dear Mr. Green has a strange view of history.   We get druids wandering about the woods at a time when, to guess by characters' names, the Norman Conquest has taken place.   Oh, and we get a Norman nobleman's son with a very Saxon-sounding name.   And lots of daffodils at summer solstice, which doesn't strike me as all that likely.  There's a journey, very boringly described,   ("and on and on she galloped... further on and on and on ...")  that seems to take 5 days but can only be three for the purpose of the plot.  

There is also an old guy,  who, being in the bad books of the local lord or something, and cast out from his home (sorry, I mean his "rude hut") sets off travelling and guess what, returns to tell us about the birth of Jesus.   Rolling Eyes     And there are quotations from the book of Common Prayer, which hardly matters because by now we have no real idea of what century we are meant to be in.    

When our bold hero dashes off  to rescue the fair maiden, all this takes place at the Rollright Stones, but doesn't seem to make sense in terms of the layout of the stones and the King Stone.  That might not matter, but given that the author claims a great familiarity ("man and boy") with the whole area, then it just makes him look even dafter.

I also seem to recall that there was a bloke named "Wulf" and a wolfhound named "Wulf", but such a tiny confusion  matters little.   And I think there is a wild bear and some unfortunate peasant who gets torn to bits by the bear, which would be fine for the Druidic time but not so much for the post-Conquest time.  Or maybe I just made the bear up - it was a very confusing book.

I no longer have a copy but it was hilarious.  Ooh,  look, Amazon seems to have it.  Hmmm.
Fey Hag

Ah read on furiously trying tae find ra great revelation. Didnae happen  Crying or Very sad
Ah'm alood tae judge ut ah read ut.

Verdict: nae better nur wurs thin manny ah've read; bein a compulsive reader anaw.

Ah read match buiks if ah canna git a fix Rolling Eyes

Ahm jist surprised tae see youse loat daein kriteeks o ithers buiks seein as hauf o yese canny evin spel annat! Laughing

Pot, kettle, black?

An jist wher hiv you been iss weathuur?

Sittin byra done waitin on news o a speshul delivery. Wit's yer ain excuse?

No too weel..................
Fey Hag

Heidy wrote:
No too weel..................

Ah hope yir weller reicht soon Heidy

A pickie uv J***** c*** wuid no be kind so heir's a wee rose tae brichten yir dee.

Smashin demolition of the book! Thank feck for literate sorts, they're a dyin breed.

Sorry to hear you've no been well heidie. Here's some laffs:

ayrshiretattie wrote:

Sorry to hear you've no been well heidie. Here's some laffs:

Ach stoap encurrijin the auld goat

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