Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's true what they say about Dan Brown

He really is a terrible writer, in the most basic sense of the word. That's what I've learned from the Telegraph's list of 20 awful sentences from the collected works of Dan Brown. (I blogged about it at dotCommonweal too.) It doesn't get much worse than this:
Deception Point, chapter 8: Overhanging her precarious body was a jaundiced face whose skin resembled a sheet of parchment paper punctured by two emotionless eyes.
Tom Chivers is correct in noting, "It’s not clear what Brown thinks ‘precarious’ means here." And that's just the beginning of the reasons that sentence is laugh-out-loud bad. In fact, in most cases the commentary from Chivers is unnecessary -- and given the apparent richness of the material, the list is probably not as good as it could have been. (The bit at the end about how "Da Vinci wasn't Leonardo's last name" is particularly weak. There's no need to get pedantic about that when we're dealing with a writer who thinks "precarious" can modify "body.") But there's still enough to make lovers of the language grind their teeth. And to encourage me to stick to my practice of not reading anything by Dan Brown ever.

No comments: