Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I am about halfway through Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. My initial reaction? This is a book with an incredibly silly plot wrapped in a hyperbolic style.
Among the characters is a scientist whose science is to change the molecular structure of a physical object by imposing your thoughts on the object.
The underlying assumption of the book is that seemingly unrelated symbols have a conspiratorial meaning. And of course, the book taps into the mystique of the Masonic Lodge.
What worked somewhat better in The Da Vinci Code doesn't work here. The Da Vinci Code was about religion. Religion is a matter of opinion anyway, so it is easier to suspend disbelief. An incredible story about religion makes more sense than an incredible story about science.
I've run across three National Geographic web pages which discuss or picture the setting and other aspects of this book. To find those, you can click this link. The magazine links the other related sites at the bottom of that page.
If you are reading, have read, or plan to read The Lost Symbol with great expectation, just ignore what I say. To me, reading the book so far has been like reading the worst of the Gnostic Gospels. Of course, scholars have translated the Gnostic Gospels into English, and since I don't read the original languages, I am judging the translations.
Will I finish the book? Yes. I don't care about the characters. They don't seem real. And I find the plot silly. But it is fun to watch an author work out the details of a sensational bestseller such as this.
Some bestsellers are excellent books (i.e. The Kite Runner). So far, at least, this bestseller just seems sensational to me.