09 Apr 05
Fiction (Score: -1, Redundant)
Hey, I have a book tip for you. It's called “The Da Vinci Code“... okay, just joking. Anyway, I've finally read it, while I was ill, and I must say I'm pretty pleased with the effect it had. As the whole world had already told me, it was a fast paced thriller with treasure hunting, religion and coded messages as its main ingredients. Let me briefly discuss the whole phenomena. There seem to have been a lot of debate about this book and the “statements“ it makes. I'd read a few articles about the book and about the discussion around it before I read the book itself. Having started to read, I talked with a friend about it. He said something to this effect: “You? You are so important with things being correct and ‘true‘, why are you reading a book like this, so full of false and misleading information.“ I know why he said that, because I'm always the one who is sceptic when it comes to mysteries and such. And then of course, at university they teach us to be so important with the sources and so on. So I understood what he was after. But my defense of this book is, in my opinion, quite obvious (Dan Brown must be relieved...): It's fiction, nothing more or less. If it presented itself as a book which makes claims about the reality i.e. non-fiction, it would be terrible. Anyone can see that the book is chock-full of inaccuracies, made-up facts, laughable interpretations and pure lies. But it's even easier to see that these ingredients are skillfully interwoven to make up a coherent story. The point is that one shouldn't waste time trying to accuse Dan Brown for bad researching, because he was not researching in the first place. This is probably clear for anyone, but isn't it like this: the line between fiction and non-fiction doesn't go between writing about real buildings, persons, events and not. It goes between making factual claims and not. So, for me it is perfectly reasonable to say that the book is error free in that sense. But it also goes the other way, you can't possibly believe in anything that's said there, because it's not meant to be truthful. So, don't believe it, it's fiction. You already knew that, didn't you... Well, I just had to make it clear for myself.
That doesn't mean that the book is beyond criticism. I, for one, think the characters are completely laughable. Langdon is a immensely irritating man who goes on about symbols and hidden messages all the time. He has a very doubtful view on gender and sex and I sense he shares it with the writer. I feel nothing for any of the characters and Brown completely fails to capitalize on the fact that one of the characters has a very tragic background. Mostly, the shallowness makes them appear as pieces in Browns advanced boardgame. They react to everything in a comic book-styled way. You wouldn't have too much trouble directly translating it into a movie; even the chapters are short enough to be scenes in a hollywood flick. It's already been commissioned, I hear. You probably knew all this, too!
written by Mattias