Mar. 5th, 2017

jazzy_dave: (bookish)
Umberto Eco "The Mysterious Flame Of Queen Loana" (Vintage)

As I made my way through this book, I kept thinking to myself "This is Umberto Eco's best book yet!" Then I'd get bogged down in a bit of poetry or a narrative about Flash Gordon and I'd think "Perhaps it's not quite as good as Foucault's Pendulum." In the end I found it impossible to decide which was better (and perhaps it's irrelevant anyway). Perhaps that is part of the reason this book tool longer to finish than most.

The narrative about a sixty year old Italian man who loses all personal memories as the result of a stroke seems touchingly personal. The narrator spends the first part of the book trying to comprehend what has happened to him. In the second part, he returns to his childhood home to rummage through the attic and rediscover his past through paper. In a heart-rending trade-off, he is finally able to relive his memories but nothing else.

In a way, Eco is giving us three books in one: First, the intriguing novella about losing personal memories; Second, a rather eclectic review of literature and pop culture in 1940s Italy; Third, a gripping account of some of the most significant events in a young boy's life. By turns humorous and poignant, this wonderfully-illustrated book is definitely worth reading.


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