Customer Reviews


67 Reviews
5 star:
 (37)
4 star:
 (16)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's in a Name?
There's nothing like reading a book by an expert. I don't mean an expert writer, but a book written by a man who breathes the subject he's writing about. An expert writer might have fouled this up, but Eco is a master of medieval history.

The Name of the Rose is narrated by a dying monk, Adso, who wishes to set the facts straight on events he had a small part...
Published on October 7, 2010 by Jason C. Rees

versus
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to recommend
This is a difficult novel to recommend to the average reader of historical fiction. The basis is an in depth analysis of the history of monks, of all denominations, and their effect on politics and religion during the upheaval of the Vatican. It is intertwined with a Sherlock Holmes style mystery that underscores the foundation of devotion this period produced in these...
Published on February 19, 2012 by Book lover


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's in a Name?, October 7, 2010
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
There's nothing like reading a book by an expert. I don't mean an expert writer, but a book written by a man who breathes the subject he's writing about. An expert writer might have fouled this up, but Eco is a master of medieval history.

The Name of the Rose is narrated by a dying monk, Adso, who wishes to set the facts straight on events he had a small part in back in the early 1300s.

Adso, a Benedictine monk was apprenticed to William of Baskerville, a Franciscan Friar with a gift for observation and a keen wit. Adso plays Watson to William's Sherlock, and serves as an able foil and unassuming witness to the events that transpire.

While travelling, William and Adso stop at a rather unique monastery, where the tale picks up. The monastery itself would probably be ordinary, if it weren't for the library it hosts, which turns out to be a labyrinth, with a secret room. It also happens to be forbidden for anyone but the librarian to enter, much to William's chagrin.

William is asked by the abbot, a man named Abo, to investigate a recent death: a novice has fallen to his death recently. William accepts readily, and focuses his energies on discovering why and how young Adelmo went head over teakettle.

There is a reasonably large cast of characters here, and for a new author (at the time), Eco does a marvelous job of characterization. I can still picture William, Adso, Ubertino, Malachi, Abo, Bernard, and especially Jorge, all in my mind's eye.

The murder mystery, is mostly an aside. William is there for a meeting, between himself and other monks who find themselves out of favor in the Pope's eyes. Here we find monks as men, who commit all kinds of sins, think all kinds of sinful thoughts, and find all sorts of reasons to justify them.

Philosophy and history are thick on these pages, with debates about whether Christ laughed, or whether the Church (and Christians) should or should not live in poverty; all manner of heresies of the time; knowledge, its benefits and dangers; and contests of power between the Pope, the Benedictine, Franciscan, and Dominican orders, and the Holy Roman Emperor. Of all things, laughter brings the house down.

It has been a long time since I've read a novel of such depth, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It is laced with Latin and symbolism, its love scene is depicted in the language of the Bible's Song of Songs, and Adso even shares an apocalyptic dream worthy of Revelation. The Name of the Rose is truly a remarkable achievement, and I will never question its place on my shelf.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Kindlization of a Favorite Mystery, January 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
The world probably doesn't need another review of the book itself, a quirky and erudite murder mystery-within-a-maze-mystery-within-a-philosophical-discussion set in a monastery in 1327. I am not generally a reader of mysteries as a genre, but I have read this book several times since it came to English in 1983, and I always come back to it with pleasure, despite suspecting that I might not be smart enough for it. If you are not familiar but curious, there is a helpful Wiki article on "The Name of the Rose," and lots of reviews all over the Web.

What one wants to know about a Kindlized book is whether it is properly formatted and functional. This one is, with a bare minimum (if not none) of the typos which Kindlizations are heir to. The table of contents works (and that's important in this case). I give it four stars instead of five only because it doesn't include the author's interesting Postscript, and because of something which is not really the Kindle's fault: Part of the story hinges upon diagrams of the geometry of the central plot setting, and the Kindle is a bit small for these. Here I was moved to get out my original 8x5 print copy. The Kindle is prime when the only pictures are the ones formed in your head.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to recommend, February 19, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
This is a difficult novel to recommend to the average reader of historical fiction. The basis is an in depth analysis of the history of monks, of all denominations, and their effect on politics and religion during the upheaval of the Vatican. It is intertwined with a Sherlock Holmes style mystery that underscores the foundation of devotion this period produced in these religious groups. It is not an easy read, you must have an interest in these subjects to enjoy this book. I could not recommend this book to anyone who wants an historical overview with a bit of fiction to keep up interest. It is difficult and deep but worth it if you are into a serious lesson.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Revisit, January 16, 2014
By 
Russell D Page (St Charles, MO United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
This work reads much better in my fifties than it did in my twenties. Simply put, if you are to have any hope of enjoying Eco, you must have several miles of wisdom-gathering behind you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read. This opinion will be explained below., June 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
It is not an easy read; in the beginning. However, as the narrative winds its way through the pages and you with it you fall into a rhythm. It could be described as slow and to those who don't enjoy lengthy dialogs on, for example laughter, might find the book tedious especially due to the frequency and length of such episodes. This is not to discourage budding readers, in fact Eco dose a masterful job of conveying these discussions in such a way that both engages the reader and encourages them too to argue, all without sounding condescending and being officious as most writers do; trying to impress the reader with the shear vastness of their intellect and the book essentially ends up being an ego trip. But not here.

The main plot too is engaging (while in retrospect it seems that the main plot itself was a side story, a mere linguistic device used by Eco to explore... I can't say what: the medieval period by not presenting it in the stark black and white as we are used to. The differences between the then contemporary philosophy, theology and logic. And sometimes into human nature. I now sound like my English teacher did, reading meaning into the simplest of prose). As a detective novel it ticks all the boxes: a complex puzzle, a Sherlock Holmsesque "detective" (who however, is far more human than holms), constant suspense and a seemingly endless series of suspects and motives. I dare no say more in fear of giving spoilers. But, “The name of the rose” is not a detective novel, and those looking for a fast easy read expecting one will be disappointed. My one piece of advice take breaks and mull over what has transpires and been said, not for the complexity of the book but so that you may better enjoy it and understand the subtleties. Furthermore the book is excellently researched and nothing is glaringly incorrect (providing a very visual glimpse of the medieval world, or at least one part of it) or gloating (so as to announce to the reader “look at the work I put into this, aren’t I special aren’t I amazing. Come on say it with me” the obvious and natural reply to this is “no” to all three accounts, I digress). Overall, to virtually anyone; read it there is no reason (that I can think of) not to.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete, delicious immersion and a bonus: an amazing post-script!, October 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
I'd heard so much about this book growing up but fear kept me from reading it. I thought I'd be too green to grasp all that it had to offer, particularly the insights on semiotics. (Turns out it was harder for me to understand the meaning of the title than the semiotic considerations.) Truth is, this book is multi-dimensional and even if you're not that interested in philosophy -- or like me, afraid that it'll fly straight over your head -- it can still engage and entertain you on a variety of ways: for instance, many philosophical questions it raises are easier to understand because of the context of the story, and you'll find yourself pondering them long after you've put the book down. The story delves into 14th-century theological quandaries and their repercussions in politics and society. It depicts monastic life of the time with the precision of historical, nonfiction writing mixed with the imagination of an apt storyteller. It is a thrilling murder mystery -- one of my favorite genres -- with surprises aplenty and a jaw-dropping finale. It touches on art and its relationship to worship and religiosity. It's about the friction between faith and reason. It's about a young man's coming of age and his wise, bespectacled mentor. It deals with repressed sexuality, censorship, xenophobia, materialism, and all written with such exquisite characterization and attention to detail that I became completely engulfed in the book's universe. I'll grant you it's long and sometimes taxing, but very, very rewarding. I guess you can tell The Name of the Rose has earned the title of one of my favorite books ever.
P.S.: At the end, a bonus: Eco gives us a glimpse into the process of writing this book and how he feels about it all. Being a creative artist myself, there were so many precious insights here that reading this post-script was deliciously satisfying.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read! the best umberto eco book., July 24, 2010
By 
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
I first read this book while traveling through italy and never found anything else that captured ancient italy so well. Despite tangents into architecture that are totally boring, it's a fantastic read that i highly recommend, even if you've seen the movie. I'm a little dismayed to see it listed for so much on the kindle version, considering my paperback copy is $4.99 and this book has been published since the '70s. Worth it if you absolutely must have it on your kindle, but just as good in print for half the cost.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Story, but Just as Importantly, A Good Learning Experience, September 17, 2014
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
I don't remember if I read the book first or saw the movie first, but I did both...years ago. I really couldn't follow all of the story line, but I just knew that there was more to it than I had gleaned from my first perusal. I have since seen the movie many times, but it was not until a few years ago when I found a college professor's course outline for teaching the book that I started really studying it in depth.

I use the outline as a classroom lecture just as I did when I was in college years ago. (Thank goodness I copied and saved the outline as it is no longer available online.) It has directed me to investigate other resources to help me understand what is really going on in the book. Since I am not a scholar of medieval church history, at first reading I did not realize that many of the characters are real people or talk about real people and real events.

I am not going to say that it is a book that you cannot put down. I will not claim that it keeps you riveted. Umberto Eco's William of Baskerville is about as far from Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael as you can get, but I love them both.

The Cadfael Chronicles are great reads, but other than brief discussions of monastery life, the plot is the main aspect of the story. In The Name of the Rose, the descriptions of monastery life with its rules, its architecture, and politics are just as important as the plot.

Within the story line you will become immersed in the theological conflict between the Dominicans and the Franciscans. You will hear debates about the Church's perception of the role of Satan on Christians during the Inquisition. The book will inspire you to learn more about this era of Church history.

All in all, this book is not for the faint of heart. But is a joy to those who choose to be challenged as well entertained.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of those you have to read, June 11, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
I was recommended to read this as part of a degree module on Christian History, to give a more artistic perspective on monastic life. The story is certainly engaging. But as so many other reviewers have noted, it is also very long-winded. Eco just can't resist the temptation to go blundering off down every rabbit trail he finds with every snippet of historical data he has at hand. This is the ultimate fantasy of a monasticism-nerd, of which there can't be that many! These rabbit trails often detract from the flow of the plot and character development.
Still, it's probably not a book you will regret having read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In Desperate Need of an Editor, February 12, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Name of the Rose (Kindle Edition)
Although I have enjoyed multiple viewings of the movie (which boldly translates the Latin Eco does not), I was encouraged to go back and read the book. What a huge disappointment! There were sentences which ran on for a paragraph just enumerating items. There were paragraphs which went on for pages. The gist of the story is an excellent murder mystery wrapped in a philosophical discussion about rationality and religion. But the man desperately needed an editor. Deflated, the book would be worth reading. Unfortunately, I had to struggle through all the bloviation to get to the good stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Name of the Rose
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
$2.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.