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In this tale of an Italian nobleman shipwrecked in the South Pacific in 1643, Eco's storytelling abilities and his love for esoteric historical detail, so beautifully balanced in The Name of the Rose, are sadly out of kilter, with the arcana overwhelming the plot. As part of a cabal instigated by French Cardinal Mazarin and his protege Colbert, Robert della Griva has been traveling in disguise on an English ship whose mission is to discover the Punto Fijo, the means by which navigators can plumb ``the mystery of longitude.'' Cast adrift during a storm, Roberto fetches up against another ship, the Daphne, whose crew has mysteriously vanished. Although the vessel is moored only a mile from an enchanting island (the two may be on opposite sides of the date line, giving the book its title), Roberto, a nonswimmer, is as marooned as though in mid-ocean. The text consists of a third-person narrator's retelling of Roberto's manuscript recounting his adventures on the ship and such previous experiences as his participation in the siege of Casale and life among the erudite of Paris. There are some magical descriptions of Roberto's moonlit solitude aboard the Daphne, but the introduction of a third story line involving his imaginary evil twin hopelessly tangles a narrative already overloaded with lengthy exegeses on such obscure 17th-century devices as the Powder of Sympathy and the Specula Melitensis. Eco's postmodernist games--he directly addresses the reader, explaining how little the narrator knows--wear thin, and some delightfully secondary characters who appear too briefly only remind us how unfocused the novel is. Perhaps Eco himself was aware of the novel's faults when writing it--for his narrator criticizes Roberto's tale as ``narrating so many stories at once that at a certain point it becomes difficult to pick up the thread.'' Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Eco, an Italian philosopher and best-selling novelist, is a great polymathic fabulist in the tradition of Swift, Voltaire, Joyce, and Borges. The Name of the Rose, which sold 50 million copies worldwide, is an experimental medieval whodunit set in a monastic library. In 1327, Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate heresy among the monks in an Italian abbey; a series of bizarre murders overshadows the mission. Within the mystery is a tale of books, librarians, patrons, censorship, and the search for truth in a period of tension between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. The book became a hit despite some obscure passages and allusions. This deftly abridged version, ably performed by Theodore Bikel, retains the genius of the original but is far more accessible. Foucault's Pendulum, Eco's second novel, is a bit irritating. The plot consists of three Milan editors who concoct a series on the occult for an unscrupulous publishing house that Eco ridicules mercilessly. The work details medieval phenomena including the Knights Templar, an ancient order with a scheme to dominate the world. Unfortunately, few listeners will make sense of this failed thriller. The Island of the Day Before is an ingenious tale that begins with a shipwreck in 1643. Roberta della Griva survives and boards another ship only to find himself trapped. Flashbacks give us Renaissance battles, the French court, spies, intriguing love affairs, and the attempt to solve the problem of longitude. It's a world of metaphors and paradoxes created by an entertaining scholar. Tim Curry, who also narrates Foucault's Pendulum, provides a spirited narration. Ultimately, libraries should avoid Foucault's Pendulum, but educated patrons will form an eager audience for both The Name of the Rose and The Island of the Day Before.?James Dudley, Copiague, N.Y.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Cumbersome. It took until page 250 to become even mildly interesting.Published 29 days ago by Susan Morrison
In the mid-17th century, due to major storm at sea, Roberto della Griva, becomes shipwrecked. Roberto escapes to another ship, the Daphne, which though full of provisions and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by IRA Ross
I hate ships. Drowning dreams are the worst. But if I ever get a ship I will sail in and out of tomorrow. (Easy to do when sailing by the International Date Line.)Published 6 months ago by W. Jamison
All I can add to what other reviewers have written is that this book has the BEST LAST SENTENCE of any novel I've ever read.Published 7 months ago by Susan Smily
As an English major, I found myself challenged by this book. It was a hard read for me, but it was very educational. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Daniel Simpson
Great story (albeit long) story about the quest for latitude and the origins of Greenwich Meridian Time. Read morePublished 12 months ago by MR DP ACHESON
A very difficult and often unintelligible book which I cannot recommend to anyone (and I have a PhD in English literature).Published 16 months ago by Earle Williams
Imagine being forced to set sail under the penalty of death or the dungeon if you refuse on a ship that cannot tell exactly where it is at any given time as the Chronometer has not... Read morePublished 16 months ago by cook by the book
This is probably the most difficult novel I've ever read. I have never taken so long to finish a novel--ever. Read morePublished 17 months ago by SCM