Last night the NYT broke the embargo on Dan Brown’s THE LOST SYMBOL, posting Janet Maslin’s review (which runs in today’s print edition). She likes this “rip-snorting adventure. As Browniacs have long predicted, the chase involves the secrets of Freemasonry and is set in Washington, where some of those secrets are built into the architecture and are thus hidden in plain sight…. Within this book’s hermetically sealed universe, characters’ motivations don’t really have to make sense; they just have to generate the nonstop momentum that makes ‘The Lost Symbol’ impossible to put down.”
(Maslin’s most quoted graph is bafflingly nonsensical: “Too many popular authors (Thomas Harris) have followed huge hits (The Silence of the Lambs) with terrible embarrassments (Hannibal). Mr. Brown hasn’t done that. Instead, he’s bringing sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead.”
Nick Owchar follows with a review for the LAT: “All of this is going to feel very familiar to readers of the previous Langdon books, even though Brown has shifted from foreign places to plant his thriller firmly on American soil…. Brown’s narrative moves rapidly, except for those clunky moments when people sound like encyclopedias But no one reads Brown for style, right? The reason we read Dan Brown is to see what happens to Langdon.”
But Ochwar says “it’s hard to imagine anyone debating about Freemasonry in Washington, D.C., the way people did Brown’s radical vision of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in ‘Code.'”
Following the NYT’s early review, Doubleday’s Suzanne Herz told Sarah Weinman last night that copies would be sent to media outlets a day earlier instead of held until tomorrow.
Over the weekend, in his first interview for the new book, Brown explained to Parade the pressure that held up the writing of Lost Symbol: “I was already writing The Lost Symbol when I started to realize The Da Vinci Code would be big. The thing that happened to me and must happen to any writer who’s had success is that I temporarily became very self-aware. Instead of writing and saying, ‘This is what the character does,’ you say, ‘Wait, millions of people are going to read this.’ It’s sort of like a tennis player who thinks too hard about a stroke–you’re temporarily crippled.” Then “the furor died down, and I realized that none of it had any relevance to what I was doing. I’m just a guy who tells a story.”