My Favourite Reads: The Da Vinci Code

“‘Princess… Life is filled with secrets. You can’t learn them all at once’”

IT WAS COLD and sunny – a Saturday in February, I think – and I remember standing in Burger King in Guildford, waiting for the rest of my family to collect their food (non-meat eater, if you’re wondering), when I looked out of the window and saw a tall man in a coat with a dusty beige-coloured book in his hand. There it was: the literary zeitgeist that everyone was talking about, and which I had forgotten about. I wondered what this ‘code’ to do with Da Vinci was all about, and even more so how it was sweeping the world away in a storm of Potter-esque sales.

Needless to say I eventually got hold of a copy. I borrowed the book from the Library of My Aunt (still yet to give it back, afraid I don’t intend to) and the minute I started reading I was taken. A murder in the Louvre – it sounds like a Poirot story on its own, so it’s no wonder that my interest was so peaked. But other than Dan Brown’s failure to start his story with the word ‘the’, what I found interesting at that point was in fact the location. There is something about Paris, I’m sure everyone can agree – romantic, elegant, alluring – but the moment it and its most famous museum are plunged into darkness, tainted by the very strange murder of an old man, it takes on a different air: dangerous, grim, mysterious.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that The Da Vinci Code was what ignited my interest in Paris, not only as a tourist destination but as a centre of architectural, religious and artistic symbolism. It drove me to reading up on the Louvre, its pyramids, Saint-Sulpice, et al and I’ve even visited most of the locations across Paris and London.  A Da Vinci version of a Trekkie, I suppose. A Da Vincionite.

Now to the pureblood literary cynics who shake their head at my choice: I’m on your side with the argument that Mr Brown is not Dickens reincarnate; his fondness for the word ‘apparently’ began to send me a little bit mad by page 309…

Yet the suspenseful secret at the heart of the story (which I won’t give away in case you’ve been living in Tibet since 2003 and are yet to find out what it is) completely supersedes his prose and is truly fascinating. Whether it’s the truth or not, I for one will never find out, not least the experts who’ve been locking themselves away with scriptures and whiskey for most of their lives trying to figure it out. Oh and yes, the same experts who accused Brown of plagiarism. If that’s not enough controversy, it completely divided critics, the book and its film adaption were banned in a fair few countries and the Catholic Church saw it as a blatant attack on their faith. I disagree, and think the Church could have been a bit more pleased about their sudden spike in interest, but that’s a different story…

Speaking of stories, this one had people talking and I think it will still have people talking in the future. And that, as far as some authors are concerned, might be just as good as the truth.

TDVC Cover

from leedsbookclub.com

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5 thoughts on “My Favourite Reads: The Da Vinci Code

  1. I remember the first time I read this book was in college. I couldn’t put it down and had to sleep at 3 am just to finish it. 🙂

  2. I have to disagree : I hated that book. As Celine said, literature is all about style : it is not about telling stories, because anyone can tell a good story. But not anyone can write with style. And poor Dan Brown does not have a clue about style : he is just a story teller, who learnt how to make his reader want to read the next chapter. I really felt that I was wasting my time when I was reading this book : just like when you watch a bad tv show, but you want to know how it ends…

    • I understand your point completely – although I’m sure Mr Brown is passionate about his stories, the bottom line is that he is really a “21st Century” writer as I call them, mainly out to make money and the quality of literature doesn’t really come into it. That said, it’s simple to read and I find the plot fascinating. Don’t hate me. 😦 Thanks for dropping by though!

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