Friday, July 22, 2011


The Da Vinci Code is garbage, utter tripe, a book so poorly written that it can be read as an unintentional parody of pop thriller writing. I read it several years ago, and I have yet to receive a reply regarding the bill I subsequently sent to Dan Brown, charging him a (fairly reasonable) dollar value for my wasted reading time and demanding payment in full. A blurb on the cover of my copy quotes Nelson De Mille's hysterically effusive description of the novel: "This is pure genius." To which I can only reply: If this is pure genius, I'd hate to smell crap. I have retitled the book Thriller Written with a Mixmaster, because it reads as though Dan Brown tossed an average thriller, a tourist's guidebook and a volume of dotty art history into a Mixmaster and pressed 'Puree.' This is not to say, surprisingly, that the book is entirely without merit. (Nothing that riles the religious right can be entirely without merit.) But its few noticeable merits--superfast pacing, clever puzzles--shrink to subatomic size in proportion to its most glaring demerit: the absence of any perceptible authorial talent. To call The Da Vinci Code 'junk food for the brain' is an insult to junk food. This is a cheap, disposable thriller so poorly written that it doesn't even qualify as a guilty pleasure. If I rated books with stars, I would give it a black hole.


Jemma said...

I can't believe I managed to persevere through this book, after the first sentence, 'Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.' You don't tell your reader the protagonist is 'Renowned,' you show them through literary beauty. Totally overrated novel.

BRIAN OARD said...

@Jemma Jade Saare:

Yes, that first sentence is dire in so many different ways. First, there are no 'renowned' curators; the best any art museum curator can hope to achieve is to be highly regarded among the very small population of museum professionals. No curator has ever achieved broad fame. Second, why do we need the first two words at all, when Brown has the entire opening sequence to establish Sauniere's character? Third, the phrase "vaulted archway of the museum's grand gallery" sounds like it was lifted directly froma tourist guidebook to Paris... The Da Vinci Code is an anthology of bad writing.

Hal Espen said...

Brian, I’m late catching up with this excellent and justifiably splenetic post but I must belatedly thank you. I’d also add that the worst literary crime that was committed in connection with this book, apart from the author’s own hideous felony, should be pinned on Janet Maslin of the New York Times. In a shamelessly cringing hit-making review, she called The Da Vinci Code "exhilaratingly brainy,” “a bracing exploration of [the] realm...where empirical evidence and religious faith collide,” and declared that one word could sum up Dan Brown’s epochal achievement: “That word is wow.”

Cath Brookes said...

I took this book to be what it was written to be, namely, a fictional story drawn on historical facts. If you do the same, that is, don't take it too seriously, you will find it to be a great read. The author, Dan Brown, did a great job of writing a fictional story, somewhat of a fantasy, presenting it within the framework of true history. It is unique. The only other author I have seen who did that is Norman Thomas Remick in his book "West Point" in which he writes a book of true history but presents it within the framework of a fantasy. I loved Dan Brown's book, and Remick's, too. I think all book lovers should read them.

russel of Tesla K20

BRIAN OARD said...


I don't think anyone here is taking the novel too seriously--quite the opposite, in fact. A book this poorly written is impossible to take seriously. As I think I stated above (and if I didn't, I should have), it's very difficult to read even the first sentence without laughing at the author's ineptitude.

Irene Jennings said...

"The Da Vinci Code" is not great literature by any means, but it is entertaining nonetheless. I would recommend it especially for the simple fact that it presents ideas that make people think. This was obviously not the original intent of this work of fiction, but has turned out to be one of its strongest selling points.

Irene (Bankruptcy Attorney Chicago)

Unknown said...

I would recommend this book strongly for those individuals who enjoy the thriller genre. If you are dogmatic in your Christian beliefs or an Art History purist, then this book may not be for you. But if you want a fun, fast read for a few nights, you'll get it with The DaVinci Code.

Best Reviews for Sacramento HVAC

Suvadiya said...

Saunière is not the protagonist btw