Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chapter 38

If I remember my O-level English adequately, comic relief is a technique intended to accentuate the intensity of drama or tragedy. The porter's speech in Macbeth is a classic example: his drunken knob gags and ironic references to the horrors taking place within the castle make the murder of Duncan seem even more ghastly.

Well, if Shakespeare can do it, why not Dan Brown? With Sophie, we ask the key question: "But if the Holy Grail is not a cup... what is it?" And rather than answering it, we plunge into an extended flashback, in which Langdon exchanges quips with his editor - sorry, make that "prominent editor", just like the "renowned curator", Jonas Faukman.

Jonas Faukman - does that sound like a contrived name, or what? A quick flip back to the Acknowledgements page informs us that Brown's editor is called Jason Kaufman. Ah, the scintillating verbal dexterity of the man. And a Harry Potter joke as well.

And then we're back into the midst of the action, as Sophie jacks a taxi, we get a quick French lesson and poor old Langdon once again proves himself to be a dumb American, this time who can't cope with a manual transmission. Oh, such larks.

Incidentally, Sir Leigh Teabing (another anagram) is described as a British Royal Historian, in capitals, as if this is some kind of official role, like the Deputy Comptroller Of The Queen's Knicker Drawer. Information and misinformation, education and nonsense, oozing all over the page, like bodily fluids in the Bois de Boulogne.


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