Fact or Fiction?

(Columbia Pictures)

“The art of successful fiction is to engender in the reader a sense of total reality, so that what the person is reading seems true, like something actually happening to real people in real situations. To be sure, when a reader comes to the end of a chapter and puts the book down, this suspension of disbelief is interrupted for a time, only to be quickly restored at the next reading. Add to that phenomenon the fact that every reader anticipates–justifiably–that all information in the context of the novel is actually true even though the main characters may be fictional, and the result is that fiction becomes fact for too many readers.”

“This is why The Da Vinci Code is so dangerous. Many readers assume that all of the supplementary contextual and background detail involving Christianity is true when it is not. Rather, the few factual references are heavily interlaced with fiction or outright falsehood. To represent such details as fact is positively dishonest. Yet Brown does exactly this, starting on the very first page, where, under the heading of ‘FACT,’ he presents opening statements that form the basis of the entire novel. Furthermore, Brown has publicly clarified that he believes that the conspiracy theory he presents in The Da Vinci Code is actually true” (Paul Maier, “The Da Vinci Deception” in The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? A Critique of the Novel by Dan Brown [Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2004], 8-9).