I have read most of Umberto Eco's novel and would count Focault's Pendulum as one of my favorites. For some reason I did not connect with this book, too many pop culture references and too little story.
Anyway, this is my first listing on this site so I hope I did it right!
Umberto Eco writes for the sophisticated reader only, and this book is no exception. If you're looking for frivolous fiction and light reading, his works are not for you. If you enjoy complex writing and a high-level wit, you must read this book. If you are a true bibliophile or you're interested in antique books, you will especially enjoy this one. The story is also rich in Italian history during WWII. Feel free to email with any questions. ~LeAnn
I really enjoyed reading this book - however, it's not really a novel, but an extended essay on how media interacts with personal identity.
There are three parts; the first sets up the scenario: a middle-aged antiquarian book dealer has a selective form of amnesia: he can remember everything he's studied or read, but all of his personal and emotional memories are gone. The second part has to do with his looking through the contents of an attic, reading books, listening to music and going through the detritus of his youth, trying to gain knowledge of who he is. In the third part, now in a coma, his life passes through his memory, and we see how the items described in the middle part related to his life.
This structure is merely a skeleton for Eco to hang all sorts of ideas on, as through the lens of the media (which, one suspects, are actually the books, music and etc which influenced Eco himself) he discusses politics, religion and love (and lots of other things).
I think I'm going to go on to read some of Eco's non-fiction essays soon...
bellorri reviewed The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana on
I am an admirer of Umberto Eco's writings but this book was not to my liking. I am sure if I kept reading it would have been different but I could not get into it at all.The story is slow and repeats itself way too much for me.
I wonder if sometimes the difficulty in reading Eco's works has more to do with cultural differences than just their translation into English. I loved the first half of the book immensely with its references to art and literature in Yambo's memory - the impression such works left in life's memory - the mysterious flame. But I got a little lost in the historical aspects of Fascism in Italy. Nevertheless this is an engrossing study of a mind, seen as it recalls the life, the consciousness, that these images recalled. A wonderful book that needs to be devoured slowly, savoring the writing that reverberates paradoxically in your own mind.