Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Case of Envy and Jealousy, me thinks.

"Art Critics" blast Dan Brown and DaVinci Code.

Here's the juicy bits...

..."With its flat prose, stick-figure characters, wooden dialogue, perfunctory scene-setting and an unfortunate tendency to interrupt the action with momentum-killing lectures, the novel is in some ways the unlikeliest of best sellers. Many Chicago writers, critics, scholars and book-industry insiders are flummoxed by the book's success."

...Author James McManus, who teaches creative writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and writes about poker for the New York Times, had a similar experience with The Da Vinci Code. "It's painful to read stuff like that," he says. "Give me some Novocain."

"He's telling you the story and then telling you what to think about the story," says Donna Seaman, associate editor of Booklist, a review journal published by the American Library Association. "He's always preaching."

"There's no interest in psychological complexity, depth, growth, development," says Barbara Newman, a professor of English, religion and classics at Northwestern University. "And I want to say this also: The two villains in the book turn out to be an albino and a cripple, which I think is regressive and prejudicial in a very nasty, stereotypical kind of way. The beautiful people are good; the people who have distorted bodies also have distorted souls. A book that prides itself on being so progressive should have a more enlightened consciousness about disability."

Here's the clincher!

But McManus, for one, argues that the Da Vinci Code phenomenon isn't good for the cause of literature in a broader sense.

"As a person who knows a lot of talented people who write wonderful books and can't get them published, as well as published writers with only a tiny audience, I regret the herd mentality in which everyone needs to read one particular book, leaving so much strong work unread," he says. "It's an unfortunate aspect of human nature that there's so little independence of mind about choosing one's reading material. People are such lemmings, and it's pathetic."

[Gee, I don't think I'm a lemming. Ed.]

Link to full article:

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