Monday, October 24, 2005

Book Notes: Da Vinci's Code

After a long hesitation, I decided to take advantage of the public library collection and get my hands on this world-wide bestseller. After having read it, I find no surprise in the fact that it managed to stay on top of list for the most purchased books - it has a nice, lively writing style (even though very much along the expected path suggested by the suspense and mystery literature), and a plausible story. A bit on the obvious side perhaps, but it is hard to pretend you don't know what the book is about after a year of exposure to non-stop comments about its plot.

I guess what made it most attractive was 1. The combination of fact and fiction and the credibility of the story and 2. Touching a soft spot in today's consciousness, namely the questioning of mainstream religion from the point of view of feminism and other currents of critical thought. Of course, this second point is all in the interpretation and not present in the actual text, but I guess that is what made it worth to comment endlessly on. Perhaps it is more appealing to the imaginary of the contemporary person to see Jesus as a man, a visionary perhaps but a regular, un-divine, really just-like-you-and-me kind of guy. The desacralization of everything. And the need for a good story to mobilize the imagination - we are, after all, hungry for belief, as the success of this book, which tries to demolate the biblical narrative and to perhaps replace it with something more suitable for today's world, demonstrates.