The Da Vinci Cod: A Fishy Parody (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/10/18
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Where there's a CODE there's a COD ...
In the not so distant past, a man had a Very Cunning Theory which he wrote down in a book, and it proved to be very popular indeed. In the very distant past, a man was born who had a wife, who had a child, who grew up and had children in turn, and so there was a bloodline stretching to today. And Leonardo da Vinci knew all about it and recorded it in a painting for everyone to see, despite lots of Bad People trying to cover up the whole thing. And the man with the Very Cunning Theory figured all this out from lots of clues and pictures that Leonardo da Vinci had cunningly concealed, and then published it for everyone to see.
But then it turned out that this Very Cunning Theory was Not So Cunning After All because it wasn't true. Not even remotely. Not even a tiny bit likely. Which is where this book comes in.
Because it turns out that although Leonardo da Vinci didn't know anything at all about a holy bloodline extending to the present day, he knew a very great deal indeed about what cod really are, and that sinister knowledge is only now coming to light ...
This book has not been authorized or endorsed by Dan Brown or his publishers, but it is much, much funnier.
Don Brine, a.k.a. Adam Roberts, is Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature at London University. His first novel, Salt, was nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. He has also published a number of academic works on both poetry and science fiction, and various other parodies.
Don Brine: you are my author crush. Please send me free copies so I can give them as gifts to my friends!
Did you choose the name Don because it's a sushi dish? Such mystery!
The internal narratives made me flounder. At the end of the line, I'm glad I took the bait.
Here is an example that made me laugh:
"There was a pregnant pause. Not, perhaps I should clarify, a pause that lasted nine months. That would be more than a pause, quite frankly. It would be more like a hiatus. Rather a pause that contained within it the possibility of something that would only later come to light. A pause that might make you sick in the mornings."
This is one of the typical jokes - the author goes off on a looney tangent in the middle of what should be a tense scene, but the digression by the author spoils the tension. Of course, he is making fun of Dan Brown's writing style, the Da Vinci code contained plenty of paragraphs of nonsense like this.
Here is another joke:
"He had a large black mole on his cheek of exactly the same color as his large black cassock."
The other jokes are outrageous plot coincidences and ridiculous statements by the characters. For example, the murder in the art museum is committed by shoving a cod (yes, a big fish) down the throat of the professor. Naturally, our hero is implicated in this crime because every single fish scale contains a copy of his fingerprint! The hero (Robert Donglan) is the best Annagramist in all of London. The police call him to the scene of crime to puzzle out a mysterious anagram, which the dying professor managed to write in his own blood - "The Chatholic Curch Had Me Murdered!" Will Mr Donglan be able to discern the meaning behind this obscure message?
One good thing about this parody is that while it makes fun of the plot and characters of The Da Vinci Code, but it doesn't do a tedious chapter by chapter rewrite. The Da Vinci Cod lampoons the longwinded book by Dan Brown by being a concise story. It also makes subtle fun of the Da Vinci Code by offering a ridiculous explanation of the Mona Lisa that is nonetheless at least as plausible the stuff Dan Brown dreamed up.
This book is only 180 pages, you can read it one enjoyable afternoon.
If you really loved The Da Vinci Code, then maybe you would not enjoy seeing a treasured tale mocked. But I was disappointed in the Da Vinci Code. Perhaps no book could have lived up to the hype, but I thought Brown's book had a terrible plot. Some of the puzzles and research he wrote about was interesting, but the story he crafted around those research gems was lame. I thought the movie was disappointing too.
Other books I think are funny: Confederacy of Dunces, Fletch (the first three in that series), The Bear Went Over the Mountain, Freddy and Fredricka, some of the zany books about Discworld. I also think Mad Magazine humor is pretty good.
I get the feeling that this failure is due in degree to--this may sound odd in talking about a parody, but it is an impression I have--taking the book The Da Vinci Code too seriously. Great parodies are achieved by pointing out the absurdities of their subject matter. This book, the Da Vinci Cod, seems to miss that altogether