I have returned, after doing some anime and My Little Pony catchup (and I wasn’t disappointed either).
I’ve also come from finally reading Dan Brown’s latest Robert Langdon book, Inferno, and I wasn’t disappointed with that either. I wasn’t really expecting to be though, since this is deriving from one of my favorite pieces of classic literature (although classic’s an understatement in this case), Dante’s Divine Comedy.
First of all, I love Dan Brown. Or to put it more specifically, I love his Robert Langdon books. I’ve only skimmed a sample of Deception Point, and the other I haven’t even touched. It probably has to with the fact that Deception Point and the like have strictly to do with espionage and etcetera, whereas the Robert Langdon novels derive heavily from a foundation laid out by vast works of art, architecture, and literature of romantic ages in human history, particularly the Renaissance.
That and thus far each book has dealt with a rather large issue pertaining to the human experience in some way, which does something of a service to the works of art and their artists that are featured in the books: with Angels and Demons, it was the question of marrying science and religion, with The Da Vinci Code it was a kind of contemplation of humanity and divinity, and with The Lost Symbol, it had to do with the mysteries of death and what might happen in 2012 (though unfortunately nothing really did, at least to human knowledge). Now I’ve just finished Inferno, admittedly about a year after its initial release, and that addressed one of my own darker fears, the issue of human overpopulation and the pandemic that might come to balance things out, like the Black Death (avian flu, anyone?). The book itself I think, out of all of the Robert Langdon books, threw me for the most loops, and I enjoyed it immensely for its very clever references to Dante’s Divine Comedy, particularly The Inferno.
But that’s not the main point of my discussion. Aside from the Dante references, there was one other thing I noticed that I couldn’t help starting to wonder about, really only comically, though therefore quite equally amusing in its own way: does Dan Brown have a green-eye fetish?
Okay, maybe “fetish” is a strong word, but that was the term I conjured in my thoughts on a gut reaction.
In Angels and Demons, Camerlango Carlo Vantresca, the tragic of the two antagonists, had green eyes. In Da Vinci Code, Sophie Neveu, the main heroine, possessed green eyes. In Inferno, the mad scientist working toward a drastic method of decreasing human population with a plague, Bertrand Zobrist, had green eyes. (For the Lost Symbol, I’m going to have read through that again, because my first read-through was a blur and I can’t say for sure if there was a main character in there with green eyes, though I’m willing to bet as I sit here it was probably Katherine Solomon. If not then maybe it’s the villain again, or maybe no one had green eyes in that one and that’s why I can’t really remember. Actually if I had to rank the Robert Langdon books so far on a scale of 1 to 4, 4 being the lowest, I’d rank Symbol at 4, not because I didn’t like it, I just liked it the least out of the four.)
In truth, I really think about it now because being that Brown’s main protagonist of all these books, Robert Langdon himself, is a symbologist, I’d like to think that the whole green-eye thing has some symbolic meaning, you know just another layer of icing to the cake. Or maybe I’m wrong and he just likes green eyes a lot. There is something attractive about green eyes, probably because they are the warmest and brightest natural eye color. Anything warmer than green would be yellow, orange, or red, which isn’t a naturally occurring eye color in humans.
Maybe it’s something personal. Or something like a signature of sorts.
Or maybe I’m making too much of this.
Just as much as an author can load a piece of text with meaning, at the same time an author can give us a piece of text without any meaning at all, except the sole purpose to entertain. At which point I can understand why an author would tear his or her hair out at people trying to find meaning in one of their pieces of writing, when they’re either getting it wrong or they’re laboring under the delusion that there is a meaning when there really isn’t one to speak of. (This is why I rather liked the Southpark episode where Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny write a novel trying to outdo the obscenity of Catcher in the Rye, and when it gets published the search to find meaning in an ultimately meaningless text gets out of control.)
Well whatever’s behind it, I still enjoyed this fourth installment in the Robert Langdon books, which in its own way seems to have veered off into a parallel universe of some sort. As usual, Dan Brown has managed to take a thoroughly distressing issue and given it a bright spark of hope. Nothing can suck the joy out of a day like impending doom, and nothing can make a person laugh off of their paranoia more than an optimistic ending to it all that seems to disprove any need to really worry too much. Imminent pandemic? Well maybe that is Nature’s way, but Brown also addresses the Transhumanism movement in Inferno, which begs the real question: does this mean that human destiny is to transcend nature?
Ah, there I go, making too much of something again.
(Click below at your own risk)