Sunday, April 5, 2009

Umberto Eco

I have been working my way through the five fiction works of Umberto Eco, who is a professor of semiotics at Bologna University, Italy. His works are a unique blend of mystery, suspense, literary theory, humor, and history. Eco found great success with his first work of fiction, The Name of the Rose, which was published in the early eighties. This is Eco's most well-known work. It is the 14th century and William, an English monk, visits an Italian abbey to solve a murder. He is aided by Adso, who also serves as the story's narrator. One may notice some similarities to the classic Sherlock Holmes tales.

This is not Eco's only work of fiction. His next work is Foucault's Pendulum. After reading so many poor manuscripts, three editors decide to concoct their own conspiracy based on a tall tale told to them by one writer. Their creation begins to take over and they find themselves in the middle of a deadly game. You can quickly tell that this work influenced The Da Vinci Code. The Island of the Day Before tells the story of a nobleman who survives a shipwreck, only to deal with flashbacks to his previous life. Baudolino is the subject of Eco's fourth work. The story is set in the 12th century and tells of Baudolino's great adventures, some true and some of the title character's own mind. Eco's last work of fiction is The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. Yambo, a rare book dealer, loses much of his memory after an accident and cannot even remember the people he loves. However, he can remember every line to every poem and book that he has ever read. Yambo uses this ability to attempt to regain his life. Each book tells a great story, so give Umberto Eco a try!

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