Today's the day: Dan Brown's Inferno (Doubleday) is keeping readers busy everywhere. Our reviewer is frantically turning pages, but there have been a couple of early, entertaining pieces going 'round the web:
"How to Deal with Dan Brown's 'Inferno' " from The Atlantic:
You will see Inferno in a pile at your local bookstore, laughing in your face. You will hear about Inferno around the water cooler. Your mom will ask you, "Have you read this book, Fernono-something-or other, you know, by The Da Vinci Code guy? I like that Tom Hanks!" You may even read Inferno yourself, whether at the behest of an angry albino monk or because you you simply want to. . . . More important than whether you read it or not is knowing you have options. If you're wondering what they are, read on.
“Hello agent John, it’s client Dan,” commented the pecunious scribbler. “I’m worried about new book Inferno. I think critics are going to say it’s badly written.”
The voice at the other end of the line gave a sigh, like a mighty oak toppling into a great river, or something else that didn’t sound like a sigh if you gave it a moment’s thought. “Who cares what the stupid critics say?” advised the literary agent. “They’re just snobs. You have millions of fans.”
That’s true, mused the accomplished composer of thrillers that combined religion, high culture and conspiracy theories. His books were read by everyone from renowned politician President Obama to renowned musician Britney Spears. It was said that a copy of The Da Vinci Code had even found its way into the hands of renowned monarch the Queen. He was grateful for his good fortune, and gave thanks every night in his prayers to renowned deity God.
Alex: First, this woman missed her cat, Dustin. Her cat!!!! Would you keep this woman from her cat? It probably has an adorable name like Señor Mittens and is cute.
Second, all these people were allowed to do was eat and sleep and translate Dan Brown—literally the best part of the experience was translating Dan Brown. That is horrible.
Dustin: Exactly. Sleeping in a hotel sounds pretty good. Food: sounds fine. What part of this equation might be so bad that it’s led these people to share their harrowing stories with the media?
[T]he main emphasis here is hardly on gloom. It is on the prodigious research and love of trivia that inform Mr. Brown’s stories (this one makes mincemeat of all those factoid-heavy wannabes, like Matthew Pearl’s “Dante Club”), the ease with which he sets them in motion, the nifty tricks (Dante’s plaster death mask is pilfered from its museum setting, then toted through the secret passageways of Florence in a Ziploc bag) and the cliffhangers. (Sienna: “Don’t tell me we’re in the wrong museum.” Robert: “Sienna, we’re in the wrong country.”) There is the gamesmanship that goes with crypto-bits like “PPPPPPP.” (Sienna: “Seven Ps is ... a message?” Robert, grinning: “It is. And if you’ve studied Dante, it’s a very clear one.”)