Saturday, October 10, 2009

Not a Dan Brown fan...

Maureen Dowd isn't a fan of Dan "The Da Vinci Code" Brown and neither am I; I've read none of his books (but browsed Code enough to know why) and seen none of the movies based on them.

I thought Dowd's review of his latest "novel," The Lost Symbol, was pretty amusing. I've been mildly intrigued by the Masons since realizing my grandfather was a member and learning a couple of years ago that my mother was briefly in Job's Daughters.

... The terrifying thing about “The Lost Symbol” is that Brown — who did not flinch when the Vatican both condemned the “The Da Vinci Code” and curtailed the filming of “Angels & Demons” in Rome — clearly got spooked by that other powerful, secretive ancient sect, the Masons....

If the Masons are more intimidating than the Vatican, if Brown has now become part of their semiotic smoke screen, then all I can say is, God help us all.

Or as Brown, who is more addicted to italics than that other breathless Brown, Cosmo Girl Helen Gurley, might put it: What the hell? ...

Emotions are the one thing Dan Brown can’t seem to decipher. His sex scenes are encrypted. Even though Katherine seems like Langdon’s soul mate — she even knows how to weigh souls — their most torrid sex scenes consist of Robert winking at her or flashing her a lopsided grin....

His metaphors and similes thud onto the page. ­Inoue Sato, an intelligence official investigating a disembodied hand bearing a Masonic ring and iconic tattoos that shows up in the Capitol Rotunda, “cruised the deep waters of the C.I.A. like a leviathan who surfaced only to devour its prey.” Insights don’t simply come to characters: “Then, like an oncoming truck, it hit her,” or “The revelation crashed over Langdon like a wave.” And just when our hero thinks it’s safe to go back in the water, another bad metaphor washes over him: “His head ached now, a roiling torrent of inter­connected thoughts.”

Brown's books make me think of Robert Pell's That Winslow Woman, one of the most embarassingly enjoyable "trash for the beach" reads I've ever come across. From the publisher:
She was on trial for her life and her way of living. Madam, Murderess, Martyr? Almost everyone who knew Mary Winslow loved her. But someone hated her enough to create the perfect frame-up for murder. But who had something to gain from Mary Winslow's conviction? A disgruntled customer? An unhappy employee? A headline-seeking politician? The Mafia? Or was the murder merely one small piece in the complex power game being played by Thomas Elliott, the reclusive billionaire whose path continued to cross and double cross with that Winslow woman's?
That Winslow Woman contains my favorite paragraph in all of English literature. (But unfortunately I couldn't possibly post it here. :-)

That Winslow Woman

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