Have you ever read ‘The name of the rose’? or you might have seen the movie with Sean Connery…
“Stat rosa pristina nomine”…
Same author. Umberto Eco, in English the title is “The mysterious Flame of Queen Loana”. I read it Italian because well, that’s the book I had and also it’s good to keep the old mother tongue going).
I’m not one of those people that just because they like a book by one author go and read all that he/she has written… so I’m not really sure why I ever bought this one in the first place… All I know is that I’ve had it by my bed for years. Seriously, years; it was published in 2004 and this is a first edition.
I think that what must have caught my eyes is that it’s described as an ‘illustrated novel’. At the time I must have thought it a good enough reason. The main reason of this A-to-Z exercise is to make me read books I have rather than reaching for the book shop (isn’t book shopping just the best? So even though I REALLY didn’t feel like reading this book, I forced myself.
10/10 for effort on my part.
4/10 for the book.
The premises of the story are interesting: a 60 odd year old antiquarian wakes up from an accident with no recollection of his life. He doesn’t recognise his wife/family/friends, doesn’t have any personal memories anymore BUT he remembers everything he’s ever read. Oh and he’s obsessed with ‘fog’.
Fascinating… for a few pages… then it gets a little weary because nothing actually happens story-wise…
Eventually he goes hunting for his pasts in the family country house he spent his time during the war (WWII)… the attic (of course) is full of books/magazines/records which is, again, fascinating for a while but when you have hundreds of pages of tedious descriptions… it kind of makes you want to hurl the book out of the window a little. (Often). The pictures of newspapers and magazines of the time are fascinating and really interesting… but come on let the story move on Umberto!
(The whole life ‘under fascism’ is very interesting though, I enjoyed discovering about that)
2/3 of the way through the protagonist finds this amazingly rare Shakespeare edition and he’s soooooo excited about this that BAM… ends up in a coma again… so in the second part of the book we get the ‘personal’ side of his story. He narrates/he relives in his head all those personal episodes that were missing from his life and went hand in hand with the music he listened/magazines and books he read etc. whilst in the attic searching for his past.
But again… boooooriiiiinggg. And frankly at times totally bizarre.
And after he tidies everything up… the whole fog things becomes clear (no pun intended)… he…
Well, I won’t spoil the end if you’re masochistic enough to want to read it!
I’m glad it’s over. Onwards and upwards.