June Book Review

Inferno: A Novel Cover

Inferno by Dan Brown
(spoiler in the last paragraph)

I wanted to like this book, I really did, because I enjoy puzzles and mysteries and the symbolism found in Renaissance Italy. The idea of traipsing through Florence and seeing some great art and architecture along the way should have been icing on the cake.

This cake however was underdone and overdecorated.

The pace of the story, a basic race against time, kept getting slowed down by the endless, detailed explanations of every bit of artwork, building and mosaic the narrator passed by.

In addition there is considerable repetition of information, as if the reader won’t remember what was said only a short chapter or two before. It reminds me of the admonishment brandished by my favorite writing teacher, “Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your reader. Don’t explain what should be obvious from the previous sentence.”

Ultimately the book feels more like a long lecture on the dangers of overpopulation with endless history and art-history lectures woven in. It feels like maybe it should have been two separate books. Two very different, separate books.

I was left with the impression that perhaps Mr. Brown feels some considerable sympathy for the actions of his antagonist ... to randomly sterilize one third of the world population to eliminate future population growth. I suppose in that sense the book succeeded in that it made me think about the perils of population growth that face our fragile planet.