At first pass I wanted laugh – to scorn – but then I thought about it. What if they are right?

In a gushy puff piece on Dan Brown designed to hype his “long-awaited new novel”, the TimeOnline headlines the piece by calling him “the defining author of our time.”


I jumped to my keyboard ready to mock without mercy. The defining author of our time? Are they kidding?! So I sat there with my fingers poised at the ready, but the mocking wouldn’t come. Is it possible? Could they be right?

But then I thought about it. They said defining, not best, not important, not even riveting. No, they said defining.

Then I realized that in some strange, pathetic, and unintentional way, they are right. Dan Brown, purveyor of false history, pseudo-intellectualism, childish secularism, and mindless conspiracy theories is the defining author of our time.

The TimesOnline article points us to an interview in which Stephen King mocks Brown and compares his writing to mac and cheese.

On May 7, 2005, the horror author Stephen King gave the commencement address to graduates at the University of Maine, his home state. In it, he half-joked: “If I show up at your house in ten years from now … and find nothing on your bedroom night table but the newest Dan Brown novel … I’ll chase you to the end of your driveway, screaming, ‘Where are your books? Why are you living on the intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese?’ ”

Mac & cheese tastes good and fills your belly but does little to nourish. An apt analogy for the defining author of our time All this, of course, says more about our time than about the author.