As Brother William goes about unraveling the mystery of what happens at they abbey by day and by night, listeners step into a brilliant re-creation of the 14th century, with its dark superstitions and wild prejudices, its hidden passions and sordid intrigues. Virtuoso storyteller Umberto Eco conjures up a gloriously rich portrait of this world with such grace, ease, wit, and love that you will become utterly intoxicated with the place and time. The story is performed by Theodore Bikel who has starred in numerous Broadway hits, including The Sound of Music, Zorba, and Fiddler on the Roof.
©1980 by Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri-Bompiani, Snzogno, Etas S.p.A.; English Translation ©1983 by Harcourt Brace & Company and Martin Secker & Warburg Limited; (P)1985 by Audio Renaissance Tapes, a Division of Cassette Productions Unlimited, Inc.
trying to see the world with my ears
When I read the print version about 20 years ago, I thought it one of the best novels I had come across. I think the audio version's "brilliant re-creation of the 14th century" and plot suffer in abridgement, or perhaps there are just other good historical novels out there these days to compare.
The narration is good and the story is easy to follow, however - and an abridged rose is still sweeter than none.
This is an outstanding and complex work. It deserves to be released unabridged. So much is lost in an abridgment that it isn't worth listening to. If you are interested in what was one of the few best sellers deserving that status, read the book. If you want to listen, then wait until it is available unabridged. An abridgement is a waste of money.
This book -- what I heard of it -- was both an excellent mystery novel and, at a deeper level, a fascinating exploration of the way that piety can beget sin and a love of the truth can beget anti-intellectualism. The narrator did an excellent job, particularly with the German and Italian accents (though the British one could have used some help, I thought). I can't address how much is lost in the abridgement, but I do wish an unabridged version had been available -- especially now that I've heard this version. I have the book on my shelf and based on its length it seems that a great deal must be missing. On the other hand, that book has been on my shelf, unread, for some time, and I suppose the abridged version must be pretty good on its own merits if it left me wanting more.
Yes and Yes! This is one of my favorite books, and Theodore Bikel does a marvelous job bringing Adso to life. His accent and delivery are enthralling!
The only problem is that this version is abridged.
I love this book! The story is gripping
This was my first, but I loved his performance and will look for more!
Since this book is Eco's fictional take on his philosophies on semiotics, I was inspired to read more about semiotics.
Only problem with this book is that it's abridged! Which is terrible. Several of my favorite passages were missing!
I purchased this novel based on some vague memories of the old Sean Connery movie. I was not disappointed. A very fast, suspensful listen. Imagine Sherlock Holmes as an Italian Monk and you've got the idea. I found that listening in the car at night enhanced the feel of the creepy monastary libray and definitely made the devastating climax come to life as I listened. A great mystery, vivid characters, dry humor, and some nice historical touches round out the tale.
The only drawback of this title is that some of the Italian character names deserve re-reading (it is a whodunit, after all). I found myself skipping backwards every so often to review what I'd heard. For the most part this is impractical. Other than that, an excellent listen!
I highly recommend this title: it has lead me to check out other titles by the author and I will probably listen to it again every other year or so - which for me is a sure sign of a good book.
I enjoy well researched historical fiction where I feel like I've learned something as well as being entertained.
Not with this narrator and not abridged. While this abridged version sticks to the high points and the main story it seems that much is left out so that it is something of a comic book version of the original.
I really tried to like Bikel's performance. His english is clear and he has an accent that should make the story telling more mysterious. However, he is so monotone that all the characters and the story itself falls flat.
I remember this book, from years ago, as being a complex and interesting tapestry of history, politics, religion, philosophy & mystery. This version covers all those things but in a way that doesn't capture any of the depth or intrigue. I was also disappointed in how the main character was portrayed and this may be a problem with the Eco's writing that I just don't recall. William of Baskerville is a stand in for Shelock Holmes and intended to apply logical pricipals of problem solving to the mysterious of the Abbey. Yet, unlike Holmes, he is confounded in all but the simplist of problems and thwarted at every turn. Perhaps, it is simply Ecco's way of saying philosophy, religion, politics, logic, etc all mean nothing. In the end, a good idea that could have been much better implemented.
I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.
This is one of my favorite books of all time. This isn't a terrible abridgement, but so much is lost for so little reason. Why the producers chose to do this I will never know.
As to the book, it's the most unexpected ending I've ever seen in a mystery, one of the best looks at monastic life I've ever read and one of the most sensible things I've ever read about the differences in monastic orders. Why you would mess with that I cannot imagine. But, they did.
Sean Connery was a monk in the movie version.. The book fills in the details of the community more than the movie did.. and if you know the way the community was organized you see more intensely the intrigue.. I might listen to it again
Again the rich description of the contemplatives.
Not Laugh or Cry but I am very interested in the way people lived back then. This paints a clear picture of the life in those times..
I absolutely love Umberto Eco's writing, but Bikel adds so much to the book. The choir that is used at the begining and during transitions also takes you right there. I have listened to this book so many times. It is very relaxing, yet captivating, as well as completely entertaining. If you like Sherlock Holmes and enjoy books written with beautiful description/dialouge, then this is the mystery for you. Man, I love the begining and the many minutes of action in that maze of a library... just cozy, captivating goodness.
I really enjoy learning something about history. Most will probably enjoy this book for the murder mystery, but the historical context is fascinating. If you are at all interestged in medieval christianity, this will be for you. The narrator is pretty close to perfect. While the movie is spectacular, this is even better.
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