Thursday, 19 October 2017

#30 A book with an appealing cover


Inferno by Dan Brown

[This is probably going to be my shortest review so far…given that I cannot discuss the plot much, and strictly NO spoilers ]  

If you have read Dan Brown, (and I am guessing we all have….at least one), then the well-known formula Harvard symbologist + extremely brilliant AND extremely beautiful lady sidekick + eccentric villain + hard to crack ‘treasure hunt’ kind of chase to save the world, will yield a thrilling novel will come as no surprise.

Dan Brown brings back Robert Langdon for the fourth time. The famous and brilliant Harvard symbologist becomes a crucial part of an intriguing chase to save the whole world from an epic disaster. This adventure takes Professor Langdon on a cliff-hanger of an adventure across three cities – Florence, Venice and Istanbul in order to uncover the plot of a twisted genius. It is one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces that serve as the guide this time - Dante’s Inferno.

Dante’s Inferno was a trendsetter and is a timeless work of art that has further inspired other writers, artists, painters, and musicians etc. to interpret it. In his work, which actually consists of three parts, Dante imagines visiting Hell along with the poet Virgil who acts as his guide. They travel through the many regions and levels of Hell and meet the various souls who are punished for their various crimes in pretty horrendous ways. And Inferno is the title adopted by Dan Brown as well pointing to how yet another writer devotedly uses and references the original vision of Hell to imagine one in the near future.    

The hardback cover of Inferno carries Gustave Dore's painting which shows Date and Virgil being ferried across the River Styx in Hell
It is astounding the amount of fascinating facts that Dan Brown gives us in the course of the novel, about many sculptures, churches, paintings and symbols. There are entire tours (in the actual world) organized in each of the cities where this novel takes place tracing the places visited and mentioned in the book. It is extremely enlightening to realize the magnitude, scope and vision of some of the artists like – Botticelli, Vasari and Michelangelo. Some of the facts about the churches and architecture that he tells us had me wondering how on earth had I never heard of those before??? It was definitely a most intriguing mix of history, art, architecture, science – all rolled into one.

This is the first part of The Divine Comedy
All in all, though not as epic as my hitherto favourite Dan Brown Angels and Demons, this one should not be missed. And you should probably read it before the movie hits the theaters later this month. Then, one can criticize the film appropriately.

P.S. There is an entire Google Arts and Culture Forum if you are interested in taking a look at some great pieces of art. I found it while trying to read more about these paintings and places mentioned in the book. And it is very well presented. :) 

P.P.S. I am also getting a copy of Dante’s Inferno – extremely intrigued after reading this , and I could see some traceable patterns to several mythological versions of Hell. That's added to my to be read soon list!

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