Friday, September 18, 2009

The Dan Brown Code

The secret is out. Outraged connoisseurs of fine literature, formal sentence structure and the holiness of the Queen's English crack the secret to Dan Brown's success :
(In every book, the) attractive protagonist gets called unexpectedly to help in a case where he/she is an expert. There's an obvious antagonist, physically unattractive, who's clearly out to get the protagonist. There's also the trustworthy mentor, who helps out the protagonist. At about three quarters of the book, the antagonist gets killed and turns out to be actually been helping the protagonist, whilst the mentor is the evil one. Meanwhile, the protagonist and his/her attractive helper of the opposite gender run all over the place to collect hints and clues, they persevere in the end, and in the final chapter they have intercourse. Oh, and every chapter ends with a cliffhanger.
Sounds great, fast-paced, a few twists, but easy on work-depleted brains. No wonder he's sold so many books.

Another commenter to the hilariously tweed-draped Dan Brown's Top 20 Worst Sentences rams through this observation, bursting with snark for the grammar nannies :
Proper grammar exists only to keep snobz in jobz.

It's all about getting yer message over, Innit? If yer message is much more interesting than the crap that some people write in t'fish wrapper, then everyone's happy except those who got battered as kids by sadists in public schools for splitting infinitives.
For many millions who buy and read Dan Brown's new book, The Lost Symbol, it will be the only book they read this year, or will have read in years. But They're Still Reading A Book where they otherwise would read nothing. How anyone can see a massive, if brief, enthusiastic increase in novel reading as a bad thing, as something destructive, because the writer often beats the English language out of shape for the purposes of page-turning entertainment, is beyond me.