Monday, 5 October 2009
Clever Old Dan Brown
A while back my friend Tom sent me a link to an article criticising Dan Brown's English. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/6194031/The-Lost-Symbol-and-The-Da-Vinci-Code-author-Dan-Browns-20-worst-sentences.html
The article is by some very clever people who dissected a paragraph or two of the DaVinci Code and pointed out all the mistakes. I spoke to Tom yesterday on the phone and we had a little chuckle about such howlers as a silhouette with ruby eyes and then moved on to talking about other stuff.
Later I started feeling uneasy about laughing at Dan Brown's English. After all, the man has accomplished something which I can't - millions of people have enjoyed his book. And people are not stupid. Why would readers enjoy writing that was littered with impossibilities? Is a silhouette with bright ruby eyes really impossible? Yes, unless, of course, you have access to special effects. Remember the Jawas in Star Wars? Those slinking little shadows with the glowing eyes? Great, weren’t they? Much more effective than plain old shadows. A good strong, graphic, comic-book image. A silhouette with an interesting twist.
The more I think about it, the more I think what a fabulous idea a silhouette with ruby eyes is. I’m busy with course work at the moment, or I’d go through a chapter looking for similar graphic ideas, but if even 25% of Dan Brown’s so-called style errors call up such strong images, then no wonder his writing is enjoyed by so many.