Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Extraordinary About Dan Brown's World

“Why does this story seem to be pacing so slow?” my sister enquired gazing up from her book.
“Haha…that’s because all of Dan Brown’s novels are set within a timeframe of less than 24 hours!” I said.
“So is this something like One Night @ the Call Centre?”

I laughed at her ignorance and welcomed her to the world of Dan Brown. She had just started reading The Lost Symbol, her first Dan Brown novel.
Dan Brown with his latest book Inferno. Source: Google Image Search
I remember reading my first Dan Brown book some 5 years back- The Da Vinci Code. I was on page 182 where Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveau are in a cab and going through a park (if I remember correctly) when I had switched on the TV and had accidentally landed on the channel where the movie based on the book was just starting. The book was shut and I saw the film, not bothering to open the book for many months after that. It was Angels and Demons that was the first Dan Brown book that I read completely, sometime in my 12th.
 

Last year I ordered the rest of the Dan Brown books online. Digital Fortress, Deception Point and The Lost Symbol. The pace with which the books move, I love it. The very fact that the stories are just one-day encounters is the best part. The style of writing makes sure that once you have picked up pace reading the book, it would be impossible to put it down.

After my final semester exams ended, I ordered Dan Brown’s latest book- Inferno. I thought I would read it during my train journey home, but my smartphone made sure that I didn’t even open my laptop during the journey this time, books were a far call. And so Inferno sat peacefully inside my backpack. Two days after reaching home, I decided I wasn’t going to spend the coming month watching any of the TV series or movies that were in my ‘To be watched’ list and instead would read books, for a change. This was also required because over the last 7-8 months I have not been able to let my mind concentrate on reading any book to completion. And so, first of all, I completed Yann Martel’s Life of Pi which I had started reading back in January. And then it was time for Inferno.

I finished the book in exactly 4 days. It was while I was reading the book that I thought of writing this entry and so by the time I finished reading it, I had a few good things in my mind that I knew I was going to mention in this entry.

A few of my observations about the Dan Brown novels (and more specifically 4 of the 6 books with the Mickey Mouse watch) that I would like to share:

  1. Whenever Robert Langdon visits a place, he knows almost 99% of the things relating to it- its history, geography, symbolical meanings and other related things (paintings/writings etc.) because apparently he has visited the place earlier (yes, all of them) and he has an amazing memory!
  2. Every book begins with Robert being pulled into solving an apocalyptic situation- apparently his knowledge is way too powerful, important and reliable than any other person on earth, including Interpol officers, Museum curators and even the World Health Organisation!
  3. Robert Langdon always has the company of a beautiful young lady who helps him in the situation and locating the clues. Somehow, the Harvard Professor is almost always the one who finds himself in sticky situations alone, by the climax of the books.
  4. Mr. Brown keeps the secrets intact. He knows where to reveal what. He does it with such professionalism that right when you, the reader, start feeling that the plot is reaching a dead end and there is going to be no way out now, a new plotline gets revealed. Something that you never expected could save the day!
  5. I was thinking why Robert Langdon is a professor. Well, isn’t it obvious? How else would we learn facts about people/places/objects inside a work of fiction? If you actually come to think about it, consider that the factual parts are removed from the books, what would be left? A story in which two people are running from the authorities and searching for some crazy stuff without knowing why or even how it makes a difference to them in the fictional world. And to you as the reader? You would be left with less than half of the original book’s text and would be wondering why you are even bothering to read the “Adventures of Robert Langdon”! Haha…
  6. The very fact that each and every factual detail mentioned in the books is true and exists in the real world exactly as it is mentioned in the books, makes Dan Brown’s novels stand out and compel his readers to watch out for more.
  7. Every story is based in a well researched place on earth- Paris, Vatican City, Rome, Washington DC, Florence, Venice, Istanbul. I was compelled to look up more details regarding the places, the monuments, the streets and everything else that were described in the books after reading about them. Do the native residents of the place know the place as well as Mr. Brown describes them in his novels? I completely doubt. (A thought that occurred to me as I was finishing Inferno- Does the Indian history not have something that might invite the Harvard Professor to visit some place in the country in his next unexpected adventure? Well, he wouldn’t even have to be very careful in evading the authorities here! Haha…)

Now that I am done with Dan Brown, I am trying to keep myself away from the ‘Videos’ folder on my laptop and instead concentrate on reading another book. Two options there- Chanakya’s Chant or The Shiva Trilogy? I have heard highly of both and so unable to decide. Why don’t you suggest?

8 comments :

  1. Get me those Dan Brown Books!
    I guess the Shiva Trilogy...people say a lot about it, both good and bad, but still a lot!

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    1. They were all lying in my room since so many months..I just got all of them home..ab nai la raha wapis :P
      Haha...

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  2. Really impressed to learn so much about Dan Brown. Have not read him yet.Thinking of starting with Da Vici code. As far as the two books concerned I think you will enjoy The Shiva trilogy more than Chanakya's Chant. But Chanakya's Chant has its own charms.

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  3. Big Mystery + Male Protagonist + Female Protagonist + Code to Solve + OMG TRAITOR WITH TWISTED MOTIVES = Best Selling Novel.
    All or most of his Books are based on this formula,But each has its own charm,I would not say If you have read one,you have read all.But they are Similar.
    And..Here was a comparison between his writing style in Deception Point and Digital Fortress that I found on Goodreads
    "Although she had practically lived in Crypto since its completion three years ago, the sight of it still amazed her. The main room..." - Digital Fortress
    "As Rachel made her way into the maze of bustling corridors beyond, she was amazed that even after six years she was still daunted by the collosal scope of this operation. The agency..." - Deception Point
    "Susan waited for the punchline, but it never came." - Digital Fortress
    "Rachel waited for the punchline. It never came." - Deception Point

    It all gets repetitive at a point,only the setup changes,But the aprroach to situations remains the same.

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    1. That's a good comparison Amlan. Yeah, I agree the style remains the same, more or less.
      And I think it is this style that gives his novels the appeal they have.
      I mean in each new book, we all know that Robert Langdon is going to be dragged into yet another life threatening situation and he is going to use his knowledge of art and everything else and solve the crisis just in time.
      What comes out to be new? The setting, the locations, the new stories and discoveries, which perhaps we wouldn't research or care to learn about otherwise! ;)

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  4. These books are just way above extraordinary... Own type which only the one who has read them understands...

    Wonderful facts and descriptions... Nice Entry as always...

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