Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Name of the Rose


So I have read some of Umberto Eco’s nonfiction works for various projects, school and occasionally for fun and I opted to grab one of his fiction books and give it a try. Being a fan of the antiquity and the medieval era, I opted to pick up Name of the Rose (which I am told is also a movie starring Sean Connery).  In short, Rose is a fairly hefty, but imminently enjoyable read.

                In essence, Rose is a murder mystery that takes place in a 14th cen. Franciscan Italian abbey. In typical murder mystery fashion, there are enigmatic deaths and strange circumstances and a stalwart investigator, one Brother William of Baskerville. Yet, Eco looks to his academic career as a semiotician and medieval scholar throws in heavy doses of medieval history, theological debates, and post-modern semiotic examinations. Now, any one of those additions seems potentially dry on their own and may have the potential to detract from the whodunit plot, but Umberto Eco weaves all of it together in an incredible fashion.

The murder mystery aspect of Name of the Rose is done so well that it is reason enough that I would highly recommend it to anyone. However, the layers of history and examinations of language and symbols make the story incredibly rich and enjoyable. I will warn you though, if you pick this book up, do not plan on reading it over a weekend, it is a very chewy read!

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