Umberto Eco is one of the most technically challenging authors of our time. His knowledge of history, religion and philosophy is truly stunning. Additionally, his writing from the perspective of an educated Italian professor, provides an insight into the very core of westernm literature. Many of his previous works, The Name of The Rose, Foucalt's Pendulum were massive tomes which would easily smother the reader.
This is not the case for Baudolino. Set in the late 10th/early 12th centuries, this is a very readable book about one extraordinary individual. Baudolino is a connsumate con-man who, after rescuing Frederick (the Holy Roman Emperor) in his native Italy, is elevated to foster son and concocts numerous tales to support his own adventures.
Eco infuses Baudolino with remarkable humanity and thought. The text flows quickly, and unlike other works, is a manageable length. I found the stories compelling and easily applied to many of our own modern myths (or official spin) put forward to the public.
Baudolino is a great introduction to this superb author. I recommend those folks who enjoy high fantasy, strong history or even some of the more esoteric philosophical tracts to pick up this book and settle in for a delightful ride in pursuit of the mystical kingdom of Prester John.
Baudolino is a clever look at how religious mythology starts and convinces those who invent it in the first place. However, it just dragged on and on and became extremely repetitive in the sense that Eco got his point across in the first couple hundred pages. He didn't need to keep hammering it home, 'adventure' after 'adventure'. A much condensed version would have been rated much higher.
I felt I had to finish this book for some reason but kept picking up others in the meantime. In all I think it took 9 months to get through. This is my first Eco book (I also have The Name of the Rose on the shelf) and I wonder if they all have this problem.
I've recently started reading Umberto Eco's Baudolino, a rambunctious tale of a thirteenth century opportunist. "The world condemns liars who do nothing but lie, even about the most trivial things, and it rewards poets, who lie only about the greatest things."
Although I'm only 120 pages into this 500 page novel, I'm engrossed by the weaving plots and rich characters. Baudolino is an Italian peasant with a gift for languages and a bald-faced liar who is adopted by an emperor as a boy and falls in love with the emperor's young bride as a teenager. He studies at the University of Paris in its first years, and befriends a wannabe poet and a moorish scholar, and the three of them are off now on worldly quests, befuddled by alcohol and "green honey".
The thirteenth century was an influential time for so many elements of our modern society, seeing the usurpation of the church in Europe by the birth of the university, science, nationalism and capitalism, for all the good and bad that it all heralded. This book thus far does a great job of chronicling this from the perspective of someone entrenched in the middle of it all. It's great fun to compare our modern knowledge with that of a medieval persona.
I'll let you know what I think when I'm done with it, but so far, I'd highly recommend Umberto Eco's Baudolino.
"Baudolino", by Umberto Eco, is a tale of grand adventure and intrigue: the setting is in Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire during the late 12th and early 13th centuries. The story is well written and absorbing: it moves at a good pace and procedes to a definitive ending. I really looked forward to finding time to keep returning to this book.
If you like Umberto Eco's style of writing then you will enjoy this book. Recommended.
I love Eco generally, everything from The Name of The Rose and Foucault's Pendulum to his philosophy and semiotics. But this has quickly become one of my favorites. In addition to being a meditation on medieval theological debates, its just a good yarn. Eco's work is great for any reader looking for something a little bit deeper than most modern fiction, and a heck of a lot more imaginative.