…Or be sent to Recycling – depending on how green you are.
I paid for it and read it a while back. I seem to have a knack for paying for bad books. And oh boy! Do I pay!
It’s always easier to rant about a bad book soon after you have read it. I don’t keep notes on everything I found wrong in a book, but I do take care to detail all that I find right in one. I am just a half glass-full, happy sort of a person. No troll here. Please cross the bridge. Thank you.
So why this sudden declaration about Inferno? Well, Enter, Stage right. Clive James. He’s Australian but has lived and worked in the United Kingdom since the 60’s. He’s an author, memoirist, poet, essayist and many other cool things. He’s totally brilliant and a very funny man and sadly dying of cancer. He has been awarded the Cultural Commentator 2014 award and the President’s Medal from the British Academy.
I am totally chuffed! So, I re-read some his reviews published in Prospect Magazine. My favourite has to be the one on Dan Brown‘s Inferno titled, The heroic absurdity of Dan Brown: The less his talent, the more amazing his achievement. This may well be one of the great reviews. Here’s how it starts,
As a believer in the enjoyably awful, I would recommend this book wholeheartedly if I could. But it is mainly just awful. Nevertheless it is still almost worth reading. In the publishing world they have a term, “pull line,” which means the few words of apparent praise that you can sometimes pull out of a review however hostile. Let me supply that pull line straight away, ready furnished with quotation marks: “The author of The Da Vinci Code has done it again.”
Once again, that is, he makes you want to turn the pages even though every page you turn demonstrates abundantly his complete lack of talent as a writer. The narrative might be a bit less compulsive this time but you still want to follow it, if only to find out whether the hero and the heroine will ever get together. But to do that, they will first have to stop running to escape the heavies.
If you liked that then read the rest here.
I am sorry if you liked Inferno. Or if you are a Langdon fan. Or if you like Dan Brown. To be honest, I did like The Da Vinci Code. I am going to chalk that up to being young and impressionable; bored basically. I can own up to that and not be ashamed. But Inferno was horrible. I am so glad I read it on a beautiful white sandy beach, in Porquerolles, which helped mitigate some of the acrimony. I did however wish I had chosen some other easy-summer-read.
I did not have a blog then and so could not vent to my satisfaction. And Now *evil laugh* the time has come. I have forgotten most of what annoyed me about the book and that is why I have referred you to the brilliant review by Clive James. He has picked up/on almost everything. Yes, I dared to say almost. For me, the point when I had to shut the book and close my eyes and calm my nerves was when I read this (Chapter 10; I had to google it),
“Okay… I guess that beats ‘I am Vishnu, destroyer of worlds.'”
The young woman had just quoted Robert Oppenheimer at the moment he tested the first atomic bomb.
Arrgghh! It STILL hurts. On so many levels. Firstly, Oppenheimer never said that. This is a misquote of a very famous Oppenheimer quote. In fact, it is so famous that it has its own youtube video,
Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds
(Which may in turn be a misinterpretation of The Gita I am informed, but let’s not get too picky)
Secondly, all he or his assistant/fact-checker or someone in his editorial team had to do was know a little bit about Hinduism. Just the very basic. They could have even asked the great gods of the internet for some direction and the truth would have been revealed in 0.06 second. Shiva, as part of the Trinity, is the destroyer and Vishnu is the protector, while Brahma is the creator.
Thirdly, the ‘young woman’ referred to here is supposed to be a genius with an IQ of 208.
Okay. That felt good. That was the one thing I had to get off my chest about the infuriating Inferno. For every other thing, please read the linked article and enjoy it with a nice beverage and biscuits.
Thank you listening dear Void.