Dan Brown, The Justin Bieber Of Literature.
A Nabokov, he most certainly isn’t.
After having read one book from this chap (The Davinci Code), it’s been clear ever since that the odds his next novels would rise above the manurial wouldn’t be any better than the odds a novel about sparkling vampires would win the Pulitzer prize for fiction.
In his latest novel, Inferno, Dan Brown manages to reach new levels of inanity by showing us how the months and months of research he’s done for the book amount to less than what one could learn in a few minutes from Cliff Notes.
No doubt the people who gleefully consume Dan Brown’s misinformation will again, just as before, scarcely be able to tell the difference between this novel and real life.
Here’s more on Dan Brown’s dim-wittery, a hilarious excerpt of which is below:
Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, having written what for lack of a mightier term we must call a novel, a novel that proved that John the Apostle was a girl, Mary Magdalene a helpless goddess, and a hypotenuse an African water buffalo—having revealed for millions the lavish colors of the frescoes in Notre Dame de Paris (there are no frescoes in Notre Dame de Paris), the grim austerity of Spanish Cathedrals (Spanish Cathedrals are notorious for baroque exuberance), and the deep mystery of the Golden Ratio (every schoolboy knew about the Golden Ratio)—having shown the world that he could write a novel about art, theology, and Christian history while knowing nothing about art, theology, and Christian history, except what he could glean from the covers of matchbooks and obiter dicta from Cher—having shown how much you can do if you do not bother to open an ordinary encyclopedia, this Dan Brown, I say, this man of our time and of no time, has now written a novel about the greatest poet who ever lived, Dante.
Only it doesn’t have a damned thing to do with Dante, just as The Da Vinci Code didn’t have anything to do with Leonardo. Dante is just a quick needle used to inject the “story” into the reader’s head. This time, Mr. Brown has opened a lot of encyclopedias, deluging the reader with 400 pages of material that belongs in Michelin guides to Florence, Venice, and Istanbul, none of it to the point. Even at that, he gets details wrong as soon as he veers away from something you might find in a guide book, especially when he engages in an exceedingly rare moment of telling us something about Dante’s poem. He says it was called a Comedy because it was written in the vernacular, “for the masses.” No, a comedy, according to the medieval definition, was a poem in which a character moves from misery to happiness, regardless of what language it is written in, and there were no “masses” to read it, since books were still costly to produce and scarce.
He says that Dante’s Purgatory has nine circles of ascent; no, there are seven, one for each of the deadly sins. He says that Purgatory is the only way to get from the Inferno to Paradise. No, it isn’t; nobody but Dante visits Inferno and leaves the place, and plenty of people do not have to ascend the mountain. Essentially, Dante’s poem is about the resurrection of a human soul, by the grace of God, to turn from the lie of evil to the truth and beauty of goodness. Brown doesn’t get any of that, because he doesn’t care about any of that.
What’s this book about? It’s 462 pages of bad prose. Portentous sentence fragments. Italics, for somber emphasis. J—–, there are childish profanities! Even childish punctuation?! Anticlimaxes, a good dollop of Most Favored Bigotry, for sales; one dimensional characters, most of them pallid even in their one dimension, and a message with all the sophistication of Sesame Street.