Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Monday, 10 January 2005

"Il codice da Vinci" by Dan Brown (Mondadori, 2003)

A good read - 107 chapters, and nearly as many cliff-hangers.

Sometimes (especially in short stories) one isn't initially told much about the main character or location. In 1st person or privileged 3rd person texts this is realistic; the reader's being shown the character's thoughts, and people don't keep reminding themselves what their name is, what colour hair they have etc. Other treatments mask the characters' thoughts from us completely.

In some thrillers the initially unknown information is in the mind of a character we can't see into. We discover the information when that character monologues or the information enters a visible mind. The visible minds can usually keep nothing secret from the readers even if they don't want other characters to know.

I read few thrillers, so I don't know the conventions, but in this book there are situations (e.g. re the wording of the final clue) where there's knowledge in a visible mind that the reader isn't privy too - not because it's private or because it's only in the back of the character's mind, but because the author can thereby increase the suspense. Here naturalism breaks down, the puppeteer's hands are more distracting.

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