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3.8 out of 5 stars
Foucault's Pendulum
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2004
This is a very tough book to say the least. It took me a month to read the whole novel because it was so exhausting to sit through hours literature that seemed to be written exlusively for theologists. It is very evident that Umberto eco is a genius but he doesnt do a very good job of storytelling. Above all else this book is a novel and novels are meant to keep people entertained to a certain degree. I know i sound like one of those airheaded kids who only go see action flicks but the fact is that i am no such person. I love complicated material, it challanges the mind but when you have relentless information about historical facts without any focus on character and story devolpment the whole work starts to lose interest. I read his previous novel "In the name of the rose" and i thought it was wonderful because it was a great mix of history, theology, plot and deep characters. Foucaulst Pendulum has no interesting characters and therefore the novel seems more like a non-fiction historical work. I do have to give Eco praise for his knowledge though, very impressive but he just doesnt pass along his knowledge to the reader succesfully.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
For those of you who will tell me not to review a book if I have not finished it, I disagree. Just like a bad movie, where one leaves half way through a movie, a book not enjoyed can be stopped and reviewed. I read about 300 pages of this book and only felt confused and lost. It was disjointed, rambling and without focus. There were occasional interesting scenes and sections, but I never developed a passion for the book, its subject, or any of the characters. I think he should have written two books, one novel and another on the history of cults. I enjoyed his The Name of The Rose and I am also looking forward to reading Prague Cemetery, but this one, I would skip.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2001
I REALLY enjoyed this book! It was challenging to read, but at the same time it opened up a whole fantstic, thrilling world of history, mystery and ideas. It changed my way of thinking about many things. I am reading it a second time just now. I actually believe that Eco intentionally made the first two chapters extra difficult to discourage half-hearted readers.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 1998
"I bought the book out of curiousity, having read Foucault's work. I loved the way Eco brought together so many elements in occultism and turned it into a cohesive story, just like what Gaiman did with Sandman. I loved the humor especially the one on the Jesuits. Great!"
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2005
A lot of people seem to dislike this book because it is so dense, so full of references. That happens to be the reason I love it. What's so wrong about having to stop and look something up? That only enhances the reading experience.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 1998
This book, with all of the travels it takes you on, especially the intillectual explorations ranks up there for me at least to be one of the greatest books ever written. Second, of course to The Magic Mountain
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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2008
Well, I can certainly understand why people would go on and on about this book. Because if you don't...well, you're just not smart enough to get it.

Reading it cover to cover, I would like to know who's in charge of refunding both time and money wasted on this book.

Mystery? Only in the form of spending hours trying to puzzle out the gratuitous, unwarranted liberal use of Latin and French(okay, Eco...we get it...you're smart, what no Italian?).

Twists? Hardly...They figured out a big secret that...well...wasn't. Someone thought they really had the Templars insert "whatever 'holy grail' officiandos are seeking" here, so the chase is on, except its not... because that is right at the end.

Drama? Yawn... only if you find pouring over manuscripts for pages and pages "dramatic" and listening to "intellectuals" giving their take on how wonderous it all is, and how it "all ties together"...zzzzzz...sorry, dozed off there for a second.

Romance? Well, okay you have a bibliophile in love with a woman who leads him around by his...well, you get it. And he's upset because the love is unrequited...and he finally...does nothing. Except, get mildly passive aggresive at the end; which just makes him all the more annoying.

You can learn a second language (or third/fourth) and be much better off, than wasting time on this piece of overblown, pompus and just flat out annoying piece of literature.

I now have a new indicator for intelligentia posers...just ask the question, "Did you like Foucault's Pendulum"?
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2004
Many say it's difficult, perhaps I had a better time havaing read Pynchon's " The Crying of Lot 49" ( a short book ) and " Holy Blood, Holy Grail ". The end shone with an amber light reminding of the defeat of Crassus in Plutarch or the dismall end of "Brave New World. A little " Ape And Essence" too, glory to belial in the lowest, which in turn reminds of "Lord of the Flies"...
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Conspiracies shouldn't be boring.

Unfortunately, in the case of this overlong mess, they most definitely are.

Or, in other words, he has thrown everything but the kitchen sink in (and it is possible to have missed the references to those, as they may have been in ancient Babylonian somewhere in the text, perhaps.) One big wodge of lies, conspiracy and stuff.
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12 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2003
Relinquish the notion that this is either a) intellectually invigorating or b) intellectually intimidating. Its great swaths of seemingly interminable lists may try a reader's patience; they will not exercise his mind.
It helps a bit if you've studied French, but if you haven't you won't miss much. Similarly, toward the beginning we are confronted with the source code in the BASIC computer language for a small, crude, inelegant permutation algorithm. If you know BASIC, you'll immediately recognize how the algorithm works; if you don't know BASIC, it doesn't matter; the algorithm has nothing to do with the story. A more, shall we say, seasoned writer would have omitted it.
Let's cut to the chase. What is this bloated tome saying? It's saying that people have a tendency to see connections among unconnected things. It doesn't tell us why that is or shed any particular light on that tendency in any way. If the subject interests you, I suggest you read Carl Sagan's "The Dragons of Eden". "The Dragons of Eden" does tell us why that is, and it tells us how we can guard against it. ("The Dragons of Eden" is also much better written, more engaging, and more intellectually stimulating than "Foucalt's Pendulum".)
Why is "Foucalt's Pendulum" saying this? Possibly because its author, a structuralist, wants to satirize the philological contention that connotation and etymology matter. If so, he is presenting us with a grotesque caricature of a straw man.
What is the moral? In general, don't tempt fate. In particular, don't associate with grisly, squalid, thoroughly repulsive satanic cults. But you knew that already --I hope.
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