& occasionally about other things, too...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dan Brown

Dan Brown’s out with a new book The Lost Symbol and the publishing world can’t stop talking about it.

I intend to read it because it’s set in Washington DC. Many years ago, I had a wonderful time there being a tourist in the city of monuments.

I read the Da Vinci Code almost a year after it was published.

And became a phenomenon.
And I was the only one in this whole vast world who hadn’t read the book.
And what a book that turned out to be.

You just can’t stop reading it as Brown takes you on a spellbinding journey

Whatever else critics may say about the book and Brown’s (lack of) style, it’s a page-turner with few parallels.

Expectedly, a Hollywood blockbuster followed; but was a disappointment. Not merely because Tom Hanks didn’t make for a good Robert Langdon (Sean Penn would’ve been better).

Clearly, it was a difficult to film a book that relies so much on history, heresy, hagiography and at times hieroglyphics of the non-Egyptian kind.

A brief digression: I keenly await Deepa Mehta's attempt at turning Midnight's Children into a movie. Looking at Mehta's oeuvre, and especially Heaven on Earth (which is symbols, images and magic realism), her effort will be worth waiting for.

Salman Rushdie will be aghast that I'm taking about his masterpiece in the same breath as Brown's blockbuster.

So, back to Brown.

On the strength of the Da Vinci Code, Brown can deservedly be included in the company of the suspense masters Robert Ludlum, Ken Follett and Jack Higgins.

In my opinion, these three are the true torchbearers of a genre that creates superstar writers every month and then destroys them the next.

Longevity in this genre is impossible. Ludlum, Follett and Higgins belong to an exclusive club of writers who have churned out page-turners with envious consistency, and in Ludlum case, incredibly even after his death.

Ludlum’s Bourne Identity, Follett’s Eye of the Needle and Higgins’s Eagle has Landed remain my favourites.

Although, I must admit my reading in this genre is limited. I read these three books when I read most of my books from this genre - in the late 1970s.

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