In this fascinating, lyrical tale, Umberto Eco tells of an international race to master the seas by unraveling the mysteries of longitude; of a young dreamer searching for love and meaning; and of a most amazing old Jesuit who, with his clocks and maps, has plumbed the secrets of longitude, the depths of the ocean, and the Biblical Flood.
©1995 R.C.S. Libri & Grandi Opere S.p.A.; English Translation ©1995 Harcourt Brace Inc.; (P)1995 Audio Renaissance Tapes, A Division of Cassette Productions Unlimited, Inc.
The first half of the book is a swashbuckling narrative of what passed for "science" in past centuries. It was captivating and very entertaining.
The later portion is a more dream-like situation (beyond any reality) that was also entertaining, but very whimsical and quite odd.
Many readers may find that they object to this very strange juxtaposition. I was entranced throughout.
Tim Curry. What a yummy voice, like butter on toast.
My knowledge of 17th history is patchy at best, therefore following the part of the plot set during the war was a struggle. Still I managed to understand the general scheme of things and am sure I'm a much more well-rounded person for it.
The friendship between Roberto and the priest on the Daphne. Especially moving was the
part where the priest descends into the ocean in
Perfect title. Would leave it as is.
Did I mention I salivate at the sound of Tim Curry's voice? Also I've developed a burning desire to learn more about the discovery of longitude.
As I wrote with Foucault's Pendulum, the editing of the story really harms the emotion of the original work. The original book is a wonderful piece of self discovery and existentialism through the loss of one's life while still having to live out the rest of your days in a strange world looking across a gap that signifies so much in the grand scheme of time and existence. Unfortunately, through abridging the book much of it is lost.
While this version tells the basic story, it misses much. Tim Curry's narration is absolutely superb and engaging, however. So I would recommend this as a casual listen if you've already read the book, otherwise I would say give the audio a miss and read the actual novel.
It's a real shame there are no unabridged Eco works available.
The book has an interesting premise. But once I got into it, I couldn't find any substantive feelings for the characters. I suspect this is because the story jumps to side stories so often that the original story gets lost.
But the writing is poetic, vivid and soothing to listen to, and Tim Curry has become one of my favorite narrators that I've heard so far. So that is why this story got that thrid star.
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