Lost — for a Very Good Reason
Review of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.
I can’t say this book was a letdown because I expected almost nothing from it. This is Dan Brown’s “and now I think I could use a vacation villa on the French Riviera” book—written solely for the money and rights to the inevitable film, probably—speaking of inevitable letdowns—one starring Tom Hanks.
It’s fair to say that The Lost Symbol is dutifully researched and plotted out (and then duly distorted for the sake of the story Brown wanted to create), but also that it’s extremely formulaic and numbingly dull. The last 30-40 pages or so, a sort of disquisition on comparative religion and the coming enlightenment, is particularly painful.
Though The DaVinci Code apparently made thousands of people anxious to visit Italy and see the sights in that book, I can’t believe The Lost Symbol will make one single person anxious to explore the secrets of Washington, D.C. And I think the reason is that we don’t believe Dan Brown anymore. It was a great shtick while it lasted, Dan, but it’s over. Either stop writing (god knows you don’t need the money) or move on to another subject and another kind of novel.
At least in The DaVinci Code the idea that an eons-old secret was being protected was plausible; when the reader finally understands the “secret” that must be protected in The Lost Symbol, he’d be forgiven for stalking Dan Brown on the internet solely to show up in front of his house one day to give him a punch in the nose. Suspending disbelief is one thing; hanging it by the neck until it slowly chokes to death is quite another.