1. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Da Vinci Code

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by erebh, Feb 28, 2013.

    An old book now I know, but a lot of people have read it at this stage or at least seen the movie. Why was it so popular? Was it the writing? The plots? The easy reading? The conspiracies? The contraversy? The religious grey areas? The characters? The marketing? or just a conglomeration of everything, right place right time?

    What did you personally like or dislike about it?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'd say the controversy around it and the fact that it was a cheap thriller really helped its popularity. I remember it being a quick and easy read. Overall, I disliked the book. A lot of the facts were inaccurate, and the writing itself was very plain and unimaginative. That's all I'm going to say.
     
  3. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I found the book quite good, but the reason it sold so well was not the book itself but the reactions of the public to it. As soon as it came out, every religious nut in the northern hemisphere came at it hard for calling their fairy tale a fake. If it wasn't for that i believe it would have sold less than half the books or tickets it did. Since it is a work of fiction of course many of its facts won't correspond with reality thirdwind, but the writing was not plain and unimaginative as you called it. It was not a masterpiece of literature, but it was a fairly good book.
     
  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Xatron. For me it was a master class in bestseller writing and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Everything about it contributes to it being a page turner, but most of all the classic structure in three acts with scenes and sequels and lots of action.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    This thread has been moved. It's better here.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Dan Brown has claimed several times that the historical information in the novel is true, though historians have repeatedly refuted his claims. If he had been more honest, I don't think there would be as much hate surrounding the novel. However, the book probably wouldn't have sold as well.
     
  7. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    A little offensive are we?

    As Thirdwind said, the problem wasn't the fact that it was fiction, but rather the fact that he claimed it was a historical fiction, in that the history in it was true. He really believes that the quest for the "Holy Grail" is a quest for the bones of Mary Magdalene. He also refuses to accept the complete inaccuracies in the historical record that he presents, inaccuracies that historians inside and outside Christianity all agree on. There's a reason that TVTropes calls the method of writing a book on a subject without doing any real research "DanBrowning it."

    As for the book itself, the story was interesting enough to keep me reading most if it. The problem however, was that there were just too many other things that stretched reality. I mean seriously, he expects me to believe that a French person is going to be upset to find a family member involved in a sexual twist with multiple partners? Yeah, right. :D

    I really think that this book was popular because he chose an explosive topic, presented it as fact knowing how offensive it would be, and then reaped the profits of the controversy he created. It's the same as if I wrote a book today about a president taking away my 2nd Amendment rights, sending black helicopters to oversee raids on gun stores and the like, then created a background story about how he is actually a muslim that is trying to destroy the United States as a secret agent out of some clandestine Islamic terrorist organization.

    Offensive? Absolutely. But I gaurantee you that with pedestrian writing and the proper markets hit, it'd create a big controversy and would reap a lot more money than it every should have. Then, a few years later, someone might just come along and say that it made it big because every leftist nut in the US came at it hard for calling their fairy tale of a legal president a fake. (Note, I'm not advocating any of these positions, just using it as an example).
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Heh, I am really not looking forward to the 'accuracy' of his new book Inferno. It's about (you've likely guessed this already) the first book of Dante's Divina Commedia, and that's kind of one of my favorite literary works of all time.
     
  9. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    History is written by the victors. I was once thinking about entering the seminary, after all, I have a deeply spiritual side and I felt this was the best way to live the life I professed.

    Yikes! Then I studied history! What I had been spoonfed was not how history documented it. And that's the problem.

    True or not, do you think the church is going to admit to witch burning, the fact that this "unbroken line of popes" has actually been interrupted four times (one pope died in a French prison) or that there are scads of children from papal dalliances?

    If you research anything you'll find the winners and losers have a different view of the same events. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think The Da Vinci Code was popular just because its subject matter was sensational. I hated the book because it seemed that Dan Brown never thought it was preposterous enough, so he kept making it MORE preposterous. Every chapter had to have a ridiculous cliffhanger. It wasn't enough that there was an Opus Dei assassin; he had to be an albino, just to make him more preposterous. When Langdon and Sophie are escaping the Paris police and need help, Langdon just happens to have a friend who lives nearby, who just happens to be stinking rich, and just happens to be an expert on Grail lore, and just happens to have a private plane ... gawd. Convenience after convenience. It was just such lazy work on several levels.

    Blah. I've never read another Dan Brown book, and I think I never will. There's TONS of much better stuff out there to read.
     
  11. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't forget he was googling stuff on the bus in London!
     
  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @minstrel: there's "good" preposterous and "bad" preposterous and I think Da Vinci Code managed to scrape by to be in the "good" group, unlike the rest of his books. A lot of people (me included) appreciate the "good" preposterous, so I think it's just a matter of taste.
     
  13. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Ya' know, we sit on this forum and discuss dragons, super-soldiers, Mary Sues, vampires and zombies and nobody ever says "Oh, they don't exist, your messing with history."

    But Brown writes a book--a very successful book--and we parse that guy to death. At its core, are we all Orthodox Catholics, Opus Dei agents, frustrated art history students or just jealous of his fame and financial rewards?

    The guy wrote a book, something everyone here is doing. But if he posted key chapters here under the auspices of "critique" and we blasted him in the same fashion, the mods would step in, say you're being negative and assign you meaningless demerit points.

    He wrote. He won.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This isn't really a relevant point. Nobody minds fantasies - stories that take place in imaginary worlds full of imaginary creatures. We do mind if the story doesn't make sense in its own imaginary world. I don't think The Da Vinci Code makes sense, storywise, in any world, unless you view it through the prism of comedy. I don't believe comedy was Brown's intention.

    We're none of the above. I don't care if the book sold five copies or fifty million; I'd criticize it the same way.

    If he posted chapters for critique here, we'd critique according to our forum rules. I certainly wouldn't use language as harsh as I've used in this thread. But he's published, successful, and doesn't need my help or anybody else's. And he's not hurt by our criticism, either.

    Yep. But his book is still lousy.
     
  15. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Minstrel, there are real doctors, real cops and real attorneys. And we all enjoy a good rousing TV show. But if you ask the real people in those jobs they all say that there's more poetic license than any real procedures.

    I didn't realize how true that was until "Sons of Anarchy" hit television.

    But while all of this is fluff and fantasy, everybody smiles and has a good time. But it appears that this idea of "entertainment" isn't going to be granted to Mr. Brown.

    A direct parallel would be Jason Bourne and James Bond. There really are intelligence services in the USA and Britain. The characters mentioned are written as part of a fictional story of those true life places.

    So Brown writes a story about the church, and it too contains characters of fiction. If one is a bad idea then they all are. But I think there's more at work here. And I wish folks had the guts to tell the truth about it.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Tourist, I'm not complaining about what Brown had to say about the Church or Jesus or Mary Magdalene or anything else that may or may not be religiously controversial in his book. I don't know about any of that in the first place; it's not for me to criticize it. So far as my critique is concerned, there is no parallel with Jason Bourne or James Bond, because I'm not discussing whether Brown got this material right or whether he was way off base.

    I am only discussing how he structured his story and how well he told it. I think he's a lousy storyteller who contrived dumb coincidences and overly-convenient plot elements because he was too lazy to write a believable story. Either that, or he had so little respect for his readers that he didn't think we'd notice or care. All this is entirely independent of whether he was right about the Church or the Grail or the Priory of Sion or any of that other stuff.

    I don't know if Brown failed as a Grail scholar. My position here is that he failed as an entertainer.
     
  17. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Hmmm. I'll agree with you in part on that point.

    But if we consider everything through your "entertainment filter" then we must eliminate +90% of all books written, most economy cars, any two-stroke motorcycle and most of the strippers I've seen. Kind of a wide brush stroke.

    I think Brown's book did something that I've seen a few times in my life, most often in The New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys. For some reason people feel you are only allowed a certain degree of success, then you must be knocked off your pedestal. I don't think a person can give a good review on a subject when he brings that much vitriol to the table.
     
  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think you're right. Someone (Theodore Sturgeon?) had a law that said "90% of everything is shit." He was right. (Though I'm not sure why you mention economy cars - I don't look to cars for entertainment. Same with strippers, come to think of it. But maybe we're just going to the wrong strip clubs ...)

    I have no problem with Brown's financial success. I just wish he'd written a better story to get it. It seems to me like he was thinking, "My subject matter here is so sensational, so explosive, that this book will sell bazillions of copies even if I do a terrible, lazy, half-assed job of writing it."

    And I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan. I have even been known to defend Tony Romo's quarterbacking skills. (We don't have an NFL team here in LA, so we get to be fans of anybody we like.)

    I'm not a Yankees fan, though. As a Canadian, I have to side with the Toronto Blue Jays!
     

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