When book dealer Yambo suffers amnesia, he loses all sense of who he is, but retains memories of all the books, poems, songs, and movies he has ever experienced. To reclaim his identity, he retreats to the family home and rummages through old letters, photographs, and mementos stored in the attic. Yambo's mind swirls with thoughts, and he struggles to retrieve the one memory that may be most sacred, that of Lila Saba, his first love.
Steeped in nostalgia and filled with vivid, sometimes wondrous imagery, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana is a magnificent addition to Eco's literary legacy.
Translated by Geoffrey Brock.
©2004 RCS Libri S.p.A.; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
"Compelling storytelling and greatly sympathetic characters." (Booklist)
"An absorbing exploration of how that most fundamental master-narrative, our memory, is pieced together from a bricolage of pop culture." (Publishers Weekly)
"A head-spinning tour through the corridors of history and popular culture, and one of this sly entertainer's liveliest yet." (Kirkus Reviews)
I LOVE Umberto Eco. I have read nearly everything he's ever written that has been translated into English. This is not an easy book. The writing is very dense. But the details of the atmosphere are rich. And the Eco's books are packed with historical acuracies that teach you about a period of our past.
I am always smarter for having read Umberto Eco.
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES CONSIDER THE ABRIDGED VERSION. Trust me. You will be missing the brilliance of this writer.
This book is an amazing journey into a man's discovery of who he might have possibly been. It's not your typical american story. So sit back and enjoy and don't worry about figuring out how it all is going to work out.
I have also fallen in in love with the narrator and have purchased several other books just because he narrates.
Eco is so great at creating a sense of mystery and wonder as a man tries to reassemble his life after a stroke that turns him into an amnesiac. He really lets one think about what it is about me that I identify with. He had to rediscover all his preferences and re-question all his values as his entire life and even bodily functions are completely strange and new. Do our memories make us what we are, or our preferences? Are we responsible for sins that we don't even remember making?
Why is there a lead-in which shouts "Audible Kids"? This is an adult book but someone at Audible has mislabeled it.
For being by Umberto Eco this book is an easy read. As a reader, you really get to travel throughout the mind and memories of this old gentleman. Although I have not yet reached the age of this literary figure, I quite enjoyed the journey. Also the book was well read and easy to follow and understand (even the Italian references).
After a recent diet of rather good thrillers and mysteries, I decided to try the most recent Umberto Eco, for a change of pace. A change it most definitely was! The pace of Queen Loana is decidedly slow (occasionally practically coming to a standstill), the tale intriguing, the atmosphere foggy and the concepts challenging. George Guidall (who I will always associate with Crime and Punishment) narrates this work in exactly the right manner. I can recommend this book to listeners with patience, and who want to think, but if you are after a fast-flowing narrative with twists and turns, this is not for you.
I had tried reading one of Eco's books some time back and found the text very dense and too hard to read.
The audio version would be better I thought, so why not give it a try, even though it was a very long book. (For what it's worth, I have no difficulty with reading, comprehension, of vocabulary - his writing style just made it difficult.)
This book at times could be tedious (He really didn't have to spend so much time in the attic!) but just as often was like talking to an old friend.
The narrator was excellent. I was apprehensive when I heard an older man with an unusual accent and delivery, but he was certainly a good choice for this - the book could not have been the same without him.
A long listen, but I would do it again.
I read "The Name of the Rose" and fell in love with Umberto Eco. There aren't many unabridged verions of his books on Audible, so I chose this one because it was the full book and it sounded kind of interesting.
I was completely taken in by the beginning. Even my husband, who hates audio books, was interested when he overheard me listening to this book. There's so much rich memory of Italy during WWII, and beautiful descriptions of old books. The story is wonderful right up to the end.
I'm not someone who needs the end of a story to be wrapped up in a pretty bow. I can make my own conclusions and figure things out for myself. But at the end of this book, there is nothing to figure out. I felt as if I had been taken on a pointless ride.
Perhaps an individual who might be able to construe some real meaning behind hours of senseless, melodramatic ramblings with no plot structure.
No. I have enjoyed a few of Eco's densely packed works, but this one is a clear loser.
Nada, sad to say.
Only the talent of the narrator.
I wish I could have been able to state something less pejorative regarding this work, but I cannot. I would be surprised if this review finds its way to being published. We'll see.
I've not read the print version of this book. I've read other Umberto and found the print versions riveting. I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy an audio version bc part of loving Umberto is loving his use of the written word. However the language is portrayed beautifully by the narrator so I feel this audio version is as riveting as reading.
The poetic descriptions of the fog and confusion Yambo finds himself in during the first chapter or so are...breathtakingly beautiful.
I'm only part way through, so it's all Yambo at the moment and I like him very, very much.
I'll hold my silence for now.
The narrator is a superb actor and narrator. Seriously. He's magic. I listen to this as I go to sleep and sometimes find I can't turn it off, his voice and the language of Umberto is such a soothing combination.
I love Umberto Eco but really did not like this book at all!! Mostly the story hid behind insufferable list after list. Could not have cared less about the main character by the end.
All of it.
Possibly this is an unfair review because halfway through the book I was so bored, I stopped listening. I just didn't care. I listen to books while walking. They are my incentive. I found myself putting off my walks because this book never engaged me.
"Yambo ? more Rimbaud than Rambo - great fun"
The last novel by the President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici and what a wonderful potpourri of Italian high-brow low culture. A natural heir to James Joyce and the literary equivalent of a Fellini movie ? beautiful and moving, funny and sharp, always intelligent?.and those women!!
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