the da vinci code

the da vinci code

i’ve been wanting to read the da vinci code for a long, long time. my general boycott of hardcover books has made this difficult; da vinci is only just being released in paperback, after about 400 years on the best-seller list. fortunately, i have wonderful friends like andrew, who, after reading the novel, rush over and drop it off on my doorstep (thank you, andrew!!!).

and now to my review…

the fact that this novel has been on best-seller lists since the dawn of time should be clear indication of a few things:

  • it’s fun and easy to read
  • it’s fun and easy to read
  • it’s fun and easy to read
  • it’s not great literature, but it’s fun and easy to read

i finished the book in a little less than a week; with concerted effort, i could have tucked it under my belt in a few days. this is testament to its narrative drive and suspense. however, like most rollercoasters, the ride is over too soon, and while entertained, you’re left feeling there should somehow be more.

brown has done something interesting: he’s taken a rich and compelling subject, with thousands of years of history and mystery behind it, and then written a danielle steele novel using this subject as fertilizer. i’m being slightly unfair, but you get the idea.

it’s an immensely enjoyable read….don’t get me wrong. mr. brown knows how to set up a good story, how to create suspense, how to craft some intriguing puzzles, and how to keep the reader interested. he also manages to put forward some fairly controversial philosophical views on the nature of Christianity (at least, to this uneducated reader’s mind).

i just wish he could write without sounding like he was giving a junior high-school lesson. the whole book smacks of being an educational tour of Christianity, Paris, and pagan religion, with Mr. Brown as your trusted guide. this was my biggest complaint (ham-fisted characterization and occasionally weak puzzles aside). so much of the time, i felt like he was paying too much attention to unimportant detail; it almost seemed like he was trying to prove that he is knowledgeable, which is relatively meaningless these days with the immense number of information resources at anyone’s disposal.

but i’m nitpicking…. it’s a great read, just not something to shelve next to your Nabokov, Eco or Amis.

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