Sunday, February 11, 2007

Chapter 18

Ah, back to chapters of reasonable length. And Langdon and Sophie finally make their way out of the toilet, although they only move about fifteen yards away. Either they're both suffering from some unpleasant condition that means they're at permanent risk of being caught short, or the Louvre offers the most seductive public conveniences in all of France.

Brown plays around a bit with time here, and it just about works. The DCPJ goes bananas as Langdon appears to have killed himself, and then immediately drives out onto the Pont des Saint-Pères. Then a 60-second flashback, and we see how the stunt was pulled off, with the aid of a trash can and a bar of soap. It's a very filmic touch: it's pretty clear that Brown had some kind of cinematic treatment in his head while he was writing this, just as his fellow successful bad writer John Grisham does. But this is more Tarantino that Ron Howard.

One further thought. "Sophie Neveu was clearly a hell of a lot smarter than he was." Well, obviously, as well as being more interesting as a character. So why does Brown structure the narrative with Langdon at the centre? Even if he needs a white American male with whom the reader can identify, why not make Langdon the Watson to Sophie's Holmes? Or can the restrictions of genre not handle that sort of culture shock?

8 Comments:

Blogger Elizabeth said...

I think you already answered the question of why Langdon is necessary. Because the author identifies with him. Presumably Sophie is also his idea of the perfect woman.
Elizabeht

6:49 pm  
Blogger Tim Footman said...

Of course, that's why Langdon is there. But it doesn't explain why the character has to fulfill this hero role for which he's unsuited.

Conan Doyle identified with Watson, not with Holmes.

2:37 am  
Blogger Spinsterella said...

"Sophie Neveu was clearly a hell of a lot smarter than he was."

Aaarrrgh. How patronising. Clearly we-the-readers can't be trusted to figure out for ourselves that she's not stupid.

Or is it Langdon who has just had that thought? But it's not in italics.

(The bits in italics are really pissing me off now.)

9:28 pm  
Blogger K.W.Wan said...

Maybe it's god him/herself telling us how smart his great-great-great-great-great-etc granddaughter is.

10:43 pm  
Blogger Tim Footman said...

There's an implied point of view at work, but it leaps around between Langdon, Fache and an omniscient narrator. Which may as well be God.

1:20 am  
Blogger Spinsterella said...

So why bother with the italics then? Aaarrrgh (again)!

10:05 am  
Blogger Joel said...

Sophie's intelligence is actually a rather annoying trope whereby you have your hero admire someone, then later unwittingly surpass them, making them simultaneously humble and dead clever, like.

11:18 am  
Blogger Tim Footman said...

Maybe Sophie understands the italics, and will explain them to silly old Langdon in due course.

11:25 am  

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