The Dan Brown dilemma: prodigious prodigy or hideous hack?

In one hand my wife had a gun pointed at my head and in the other she had a stapler poised at my knee cap, threatening to staple my scrotum there if I didn’t read Stephanie Meyers twilight saga.  What was I supposed to do?  You tell me.  I have a healthy fear of death just like everyone else but it was the stapler that ultimately motivated me.  But now that I have completed the Meyers saga, I wish she had pulled the trigger.  The experience wasn’t a complete waste because strangely enough it made me think about Dan Brown’s writing in a different light.  Sometimes I need some really bad writing to appreciate the kind of writing you get from Dan Brown.  Thank you, Stephanie. 

 

I think Dan Brown is strong in areas many writers struggle with.  He’s good at handling exposition and setting material.  Exposition and description are like bulkheads where readers can easily stub their toes, yet Dan manages to navigate the reader through it fairly easily.  He takes you into this make-believe world and does an excellent job at providing the illusion that there is intelligence in his writing.  This is not an easy thing to do.  It’s like snake oil sales man standing at the edge of his cart, pitching his product as the next universal cure all, but you stay and listen anyway, even though you know the snake oil sales man is full of shit.  There is a certain talent in that.  There’s no question that Dan’s threading of conspiracy elements in his plots is ludicrous.  I have an easier time believing in the government’s cover up about UFO's abducting and probing the rectums of hairy loggers than I do about the conspiracies in Dan's books.   But with this said, Dan’s taste in subject material is compelling, which gives more credit than I give the UFO's.  What are your thoughts about Dan Brown?

 

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I read the whole thing, partly because a friend asked me to so we could discuss it, and partly because I'm OCD. I;m getting over the OCD, and will be far more careful what I promise in the future.

Brown lost me in the first chapter, where the curator at the Louvre goes to such great pains to display himself as an obscure clue that only one person will understand (assuming he sees it), instead of taking his final few minutes to write him a note and leave it in an envelope for him. Or trying to get it in the mail, if he didn't want the police to see it. Whatever.
Lost me on the way to the museum when the American worried about how to answer the inevitable question from the Frenchman about what he thinks of the new addition to the Louvre - as if a Frenchman would care what an American thinks about anything in France... ;)
Chuckling.

Lost me with the albino monk.
Lost me in the prologue--the dialogue was so bad I couldn't get to Chapter One.
Yep, it's his dialogue that really sucks. In 'The Lost Symbol,' the hero asks "What the hell?" on every other page.

'The Lost Symbol', more like 'The Lost Thesaurus'
I read it just to say I read it. It was laughably contrived and well beyond bad, but hey, I can say it: I read the damned thing.

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