Saturday, 11 May 2013

Michael Deacon's Dan Brown take-off is one of the funniest parodies I've read in years

The last great blockbuster I read was Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, about seven years ago. It was so bad - so steamingly, cosmically, jaw-droppingly crappy - I decided to give the whole genre a body-swerve from that point on. I reneged ( or "renaijed" as some estuarine BBC Natural History presenter pronounced it the other day) only once and borrowed Brown's follow-up, Angels and Demons, from the local library. I only managed ten pages: it was even worse than its abysmal predecessor. In the Telegraph today, the paper's sketch-writer Michael Deacon produced a merciless parody of Dan Brown's style, which I urge you to read here. Meanwhile, here's a lengthy extract from the piece:

...Renowned author Dan Brown got out of his luxurious four-poster bed in his expensive $10 million house and paced the bedroom, using the feet located at the ends of his two legs to propel him forwards. He knew he shouldn’t care what a few jealous critics thought. His new book Inferno was coming out on Tuesday, and the 480-page hardback published by Doubleday with a recommended US retail price of $29.95 was sure to be a hit. Wasn’t it? 
I’ll call my agent, pondered the prosperous scribe. He reached for the telephone using one of his two hands. “Hello, this is renowned author Dan Brown,” spoke renowned author Dan Brown. “I want to talk to literary agent John Unconvincingname.” 
“Mr Unconvincingname, it’s renowned author Dan Brown,” told the voice at the other end of the line. Instantly the voice at the other end of the line was replaced by a different voice at the other end of the line. “Hello, it’s literary agent John Unconvincingname,” informed the new voice at the other end of the line. 
“Hello agent John, it’s client Dan,” commented the pecunious scribbler. “I’m worried about new book Inferno. I think critics are going to say it’s badly written.” 
The voice at the other end of the line gave a sigh, like a mighty oak toppling into a great river, or something else that didn’t sound like a sigh if you gave it a moment’s thought. “Who cares what the stupid critics say?” advised the literary agent. “They’re just snobs. You have millions of fans.” 
That’s true, mused the accomplished composer of thrillers that combined religion, high culture and conspiracy theories. His books were read by everyone from renowned politician President Obama to renowned musician Britney Spears. It was said that a copy of The Da Vinci Code had even found its way into the hands of renowned monarch the Queen. He was grateful for his good fortune, and gave thanks every night in his prayers to renowned deity God...
Given that anyone reading this post is bound to have read at least a few pages of Dan Brown (if only to find out what the fuss was all about) you'll know that Deacon has captured his style perfectly. 

I love parodies - which is why I'm particularly delighted that the author of the brilliant Benjamin Zephyr Zodiac "poems" has done me the honour of choosing this blog as his primary  publishing outlet. I have a large number of parody anthologies on my bookshelves, all of which I've read many times over the years. So I like to think I'm a bit of an connoisseur. When it comes to prose parodies, Craig Brown has been the King of the Hill for many years - but he might have a rival in Michael Deacon, who evidently possesses a finely-tuned ear. I trust that his Dan Brown piece will find its way into every new parody anthology for decades to come.

You might also enoy "The Lost Symbol and The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's 20 worst sentences" by Tom Chivers, which appeared in the Telegraph in 2009: read it here (I'm aware the Torygraph has disappeared behind a paywall, but I you can read 20 pages without having to become an online subscriber - although, as it only costs £22 a year, and Michael Deacon alone is worth that, what are you waiting for?).


  1. "Renowned deity God". Brilliant. I enjoyed the parody even though I have never read the original. On holiday once, I ran out of books and started to read a book called something like The Holy Blood and the Wholly Shite and ended up throwing it across the room. I recommend that to readers of any book that turns out to be rubbish. It relieves the tension born of wasting that small part of your life meant to be pleasurable on something pointless.

    Many years later, I read that the authors had sued Dan Brown for allegedly nicking the plot. As I had not discovered anything resembling one after about 50 intelligence-insulting pages, I concluded that this was not a legal challenge likely to succeed. So it proved. I marked it down in that category which includes Miliband v Miliband and the Iran/Iraq war. Why is it not possible for both sides to lose? I suppose the answer will never be known, unless you are renowned deity God.

  2. Jesus didn't die on the Cross. he married former prostitute Mary Magdalene. They had children and moved to France. The higher echelons of the Catholic Church know all this and Opus Dei will assassinate anyone who tries to reveal the truth. I think we can now accept this as indisputable historical fact, just as we can accept that the science of climate change is settled, that countries can spend their way out of debt and that Islam is the religion of peace.