“Hi, ev’ybody!”

“Hi, Doctor Nick!”

Rest, weary traveller, breathe easy again, for the end is nigh. But I fear it may be a rather sombre affair… I truly wanted to go down shooting, but in the end The Da Vinci Code has beaten me. Dan Brown has won. Because I don’t think I have it in me to be funny about it any more.

I want to try. I kept folding page-corners as I rushed headlong into the final third, or t’ird as the Irish might accurately put it, so looking back there are things that must have struck me as comment worthy, back when my sense of humour hadn’t shrivelled up and morphed into an ever expanding brain-tumour, but these seeming gems hardly raise a smile now. So when Brown employs a metaphor and imbues it with more reality, though chronically misplaced, than he does his actual story –

If a “line of reason” had ever existed, she had just crossed it. At almost the speed of sound.

– because she is in an aeroplane, do you see, or –

Aringarosa leaned across the table, sharpening his tone to a point.

– I want to poke fun, but it just isn’t in me. When not one but two different characters casually bribe their pilots to change their planned destination, in mid-air, and on both occasions the pilots just agree, in total denial not just of common sense but of common sense plotting, I want to rant – but I can’t. I’m too tired.

I ought to wax humorous about Robert Langdon’s status as little more than the ghostly personification of Dan-Brown-as-author himself, flitting ethereally through a story that is in truth nothing to do with him at all; the ludicrous lack of awareness that inspires Brown to have his cryptographer be the one all the clues have to be explained to; the psychotic splitting of personality which his villain, and his villain’s manservant, both exhibit – unless it is a psychosis of the text and not the characters, which is highly possible; ultimately, about the fact that the near total emotional absenteeism on display makes you wonder if everyone involved is autistic – only for their inconsistently good pattern-recognition skills to make that unlikely. All these things and more deserve ridicule… but my apathy is too great.

The Da Vinci Code fails in every way. Brown is unable to convincingly present foreground action, unable to create back-story unless it’s as unconvincing foreground action, can’t structure his story logically, can’t characterise his cast of ciphers and doesn’t trust his reader to bring anything to the mix whatsoever – there is nothing to interpret beyond a handful of pathetically obvious “codes” which, like the entire book, have almost nothing to do with Leonardo Da Vinci at all. Not content with being unoriginal in its basic premise, it strives for unoriginality of plot – forget about the tried and tested thriller format, he even steals Return Of The Jedi’s “Luke-Leia” twist, but is too inept to use it as anything but a tacked on coda to the least dramatic finale I’ve ever read. Oh, and then there’s another, even less dramatic and entirely arbitrary sub-the-Butler-did-it final-finale still to come – I mean, for fuck’s sake.

By my opening quote I hope to suggest that Mister Dan Brown is only a writer of literature in the same sense that Doctor Nick Riviera is a potential saver of lives. Which is of course to say, he isn’t – if anything, he’s a destroyer. Brown “tells” a “story” which is set in the worlds of high art and high thought and with his book happily crushes both with all the conscious foresight of a mudslide. How many millions have read this? How many more than will ever likely read the bible front-to-back, or an accurate analysis of Da Vinci’s life and work, or anything even remotely approaching a book worth reading? With this one stroke Brown lessens the quality of art and debate, thus thought, effectively making a mockery of the very things he ostensibly holds up as “to be cherished”, and he’s written three or four other novels too. Jesus, Mary, Sarah, Sophie – Sophie’s brothersomeone, save us.

Brown’s won twice actually, because if I hadn’t had the crutch of mockery I would have left this stinker considerably unfinished – and now I’ve lost even that. It really is… the worst piece of shit I’ve ever read.

So. Here I am. Left with the contents of Dan Brown’s toilet forever a part of my head-mash. If the few remaining innocents out there can take anything from my experience, make it the decision never to read The Da Vinci Code – not to find out if I’m right, not out of some morbid desire to hurt yourself – please. Then maybe my suffering won’t have been in vain. It’s just not worth it.

There’s really only one thing left for me to do. You know what South Park says is the last thing that happens after you top yourself?




Editor’s Note: Speculation is rife that, if Dan Brown were to commit suicide, his loosening bowel might produce another sequel. Distressing as this would be, it could be worth it.