I went into the Observer offices yesterday to see my editor. We’re old friends. (Yes, Virginia, it is about who you know). I complimented him for the Sopranos cover of the Observer then I asked him what he was doing on The Da Vinci Code—why it wasn’t in his paper. He said, “Are you crazy? It’s a piece of shit movie based on a piece of shit book. Do you know anyone who thinks that’s a good book, really? Do you know anyone?” I thought of a couple of people, but didn’t want to open my mouth. “Mrs. Weiss doesn’t like it, does she?” “She’s read it,” I said. (I haven’t; it’s not for me.)
When I got home I told my wife about the conversation and she agreed with my editor. She said, “It’s not a very good thriller.” “Then why did you read it?” “I read a lot of bad thrillers.” I asked her to elaborate. She said, “It’s badly written, formulaic, cliched, clunky, and shtik-driven. The book he wrote before has exactly the same structure. I think it’s about the Pope.”
I asked her why it was so successful—because of the Catholic church? She said, “No. It’s the business of a thriller to make something scary up about something. You can say that the Nazis are going to rearm and take over Germany. That’s what a thriller’s supposed to do.” I asked her again: “Well then how do you explain that it’s been such a big hit?” “I can’t. I’m mystified.”
I don’t usually stump my wife. I gotta get to the bottom of this.