I picked up Dan Brown’s latest hot title at the airport on my way home. I’ve read all his best-sellers. I’d seen him interviewed on UK breakfast television while I was away and thought,
What a nice man.
He doesn’t come across all stuffed up with his own importance. In fact, he spoke with some humility about the way he values his UK fans even though his UK critics appear to be the most anti-DB.
He’s right about his UK critics. Having a go at Dan Brown novels is a national sport, it would seem. And it’s not just professional literary critics who like beating up on one of the most popular novelists ever.
On wannabe writers websites, where aspiring novelists review each other’s work, the name Dan Brown is bandied about as an example of how NOT to write. Stand-up comedians, for goodness sake, mock the man’s style. Samples of his syntax are held up for ridicule.
Yet his books SELL.
You’ve got to ask yourself why.
Who are the critics who slate him? Are they the same people he’s writing for?
No! Absolutely not. Dan Brown writes for the masses. He writes for people who love a good yarn. People who don’t analyze his opening paragraphs. Mr Brown doesn’t write literary fiction. He doesn’t write to please the critic in residence at the Daily Blab or the International Blah, Blah, Blah. So they give him a hard time. Read the following link from Sky News.
Dan Brown says he writes the kinds of stories he likes to read. It’s amazing that he’s still willing to give interviews. He doesn’t really need to, after all. The man must be rolling in it. He doesn’t need to court anybody. In interview, even when his TV host is acting as tormentor, Dan Brown comes across well in my opinion.
Maybe he comes across as a decent sort because that’s exactly what he is. Full stop. There’s no pretence about the man. I hope so.
So, let’s have a look at why Dan Brown is so vilified in certain quarters. In Inferno, he begins with his main character, Robert Langdon waking up from a nightmare. According to fiction editors around the planet, this is such a no-no, your agent would drop you there and then.
In literary agency Darley Anderson’s latest post there’s a piece about ways NOT to begin. Descriptions of the moon, dreams, traffic, weather, looking in a mirror are all such turn-offs, apparently, that your manuscript wouldn’t get past the reader. You wouldn’t even make it to the agent’s desk.
It’s not the only no-no Dan Brown gets away with. He pairs adjectives. Shock horror. Dan Brown writes things like incredibly dangerous and ornately carved. Blimey! Not adverbs too, you might gasp. Experts will tell you anybody who writes things like old, weathered gate isn’t trying hard enough to improve their skills.
But here”s the thing. Dan Brown’s Inferno hit #1 on the best-seller lists BEFORE it was available to buy.
Check out any best-seller list you care to name to see its position today.
That’s right. Dan Brown’s Inferno is right up there.
Anybody who begrudges him his popularity must be just plain jealous. There are elements of his style that grate a little with me, but it doesn’t stop me buying his books. I don’t particularly care an awful lot what happens to his characters; they never seem quite real to me, a bit like Indiana Jones and his Scots dad. But THE STORY. Oh, the story with its puzzles and misunderstandings and codes and surprises you knew were coming anyway – I LOVE Dan Brown’s stories.
Go Dan. Go Dan.
His work is so controversial amongst the literati their bewilderment only serves to stoke the fire. Now THAT’S clever. Get your enemies to fight your cause for you. Ouch! HOT!