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Publisher's Summary

After a violent storm in the South Pacific in the year 1643, Roberto della Griva finds himself shipwrecked. Swept from the Amaryllis, he has managed to pull himself aboard the Daphne, anchored in the bay of a beautiful island surrounded by treacherous coral reefs. The ship is fully provisioned, he discovers, but the crew is missing. As Roberto explores the vessel and descends into madness, he remembers chapters from his youth: Ferrante, his imaginary evil brother; the siege of Casale, that meaningless chess move in the 30 Years' War in which he lost his father and his illusions; the Aristotelian metaphor machine of Padre Emanuele; the salons of Paris; the theory of the Powder of Sympathy; the approach of his unapproachable Lady, then prison; and finally, the summons of Cardinal Mazarin himself.

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Gary
  • Durham, NC, USA
  • 01-03-04

Puzzling and entrancing

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.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Cherry
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 01-31-12

Great narration, shame about the loss of the story

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jane
  • North Wales, PA, United States
  • 03-02-12

Eco Beach

What made the experience of listening to The Island of the Day Before the most enjoyable?

Tim Curry. What a yummy voice, like butter on toast.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

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.

Which scene was your favorite?

The friendship between Roberto and the priest on the Daphne. Especially moving was the<br/>part where the priest descends into the ocean in

If you could rename The Island of the Day Before, what would you call it?

Perfect title. Would leave it as is.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Too many story jumps

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.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful