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The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 3, 2005
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Within the limitations of Yambo's handicap and quest, Eco creates wondrous variety, wringing surprise and delight from such shamelessly hackneyed plot twists as the discovery of a hidden room. Illustrated with the cartoons, sheet music covers, and book jackets that Yambo uncovers in his search, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana can be read as a love letter to literature, a layered excavation of an Italian boyhood of the 1940s, and a sly meditation on human consciousness. Both playful and reverent, it stands with The Name of the Rose and The Island of the Day Before as among Eco's most successful novels. --Regina Marler
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
I approached Umberto Eco's new novel, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, with some trepidation. I have sometime found Eco's work to be a bit difficult to get through. It became very apparent that I would have no such problems with this book. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana was not only a very accessible book but, more importantly, it was at once both immensely enjoyable and thought-provoking.
Before turning to the book itself, I found it interesting that the book is filled with illustrations. Throughout the book World War Two propaganda posters, newspaper clippings, comic book pages, and ads from Italian fashion magazines are printed alongside the text. Some might assert that Eco's reliance on illustrations may detract from the text or represent something of a gimmick. I think the illustrations are visually stunning and serve to recreate the social and political atmosphere of Italy in the 1930s and 1940s during which time much of the book takes place. They add a visual punch to the thoughts of Eco's narrator.
The book opens with Giambattista Boldoni, a 59-year old rare book dealer, awaking from a light coma in a hospital after suffering a stroke. It is determined quickly that Boldoni, known to his friends and family since childhood as Yambo, is suffering from partial amnesia. Although he has a vivid memory of social and cultural events through his life he has no memory of anything relating to his personal life. The first chapter is a classic of pop-culture allusions and metaphors. Yambo's sentences come out in stream of consciousness fashion with no personal context at all.Read more ›
This novel is divided into three parts and the first part is as good as anything Eco's written since The Name of the Rose. We are given the interesting premise of a man, Yambo, who has lost the memory of the events of his life while retaining the memory of the things he has learned--the books he has read, the music he has heard, etc. Eco is able to believably evoke the experience of this man whose mind is like a textbook, full of facts but with no connection to the people who sees before him. It is a fascinating point of view. As the story progresses, he and his family and friends attempt to figure out ways to bring back his personal memories. To that end, he is packed off alone to his childhood home in Solara.
It is in part two, the stay in Solara, where the going gets tougher. This section is basically a review of the music and literature of pre- and post-WWII Italy. Not being Italian, I had very little connection to the bulk of the material described though it did evoke some memories of my own childhood literary experiences. It is amazing how much literature really does become universal in Western culture.Read more ›
Yambo, a 60ish antiquarian book seller has a stroke that virtually wipes his mind clean...clean as if someone had erased a chalk board. The only memory he has is of the words he has read...all of them. His personal life, the fine points of reference we all need to know who we are...to define ourselves is gone. No recollection of family, friends, history....gone.
Yambo retreats to the family estate, Solara, where he has kept virtually every scrap of paper, every photograph...all the things we all keep to keep track of ourselves. He hopes that by surrounding himself with this material he will be able to regain his memory.
Eco is a superbly rick novelist. His stories are made up of various layers, each supporting and enhancing the other. The characters are memorable, the story well weaved. Even his setting, Solara is a treat. I can't help but believe that part of the difficulty in reading his work is due to the translating. Certainly Eco is several levels above most of his contemporaries. Does America have anyone like him.
You'll love the Mysterious Flame.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
may have been a gift from God (Ex Caelis Oblatus) but this novel is not divinely inspired. Yambo (Giambattista Bodoni), the narrator, is fog-bound. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lesley Jenkins
My favorite Umberto Eco's book. Great philosophical story about presence of memory and meaning of your past.Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
If you wandered eagerly through the pages of thirties comic books, if you lived through the forties, if you watched movie after movie in the fifties, then this book is definitely... Read morePublished 9 months ago by JOHN A. BROUSSARD
I plan on buying more books! I ordered the book and it was on my porch in 7 days! :-)Published 17 months ago by Christopher Johnston
Umberto Eco's novel "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana" is about Yambo, a sixty-something book dealer in Milan, who suffers an injury that leaves him without his... Read morePublished on January 27, 2014 by B. Adducchio
I have read all of Eco's novels and they are intelligent reading. Sometimes he weaves a story that we just can't resist. Read morePublished on October 14, 2013 by StillReadingBob
Have you ever wanted to listen to someone's every thought? Neither have I. But that's what Eco gives us in The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. Read morePublished on April 21, 2013 by C Hill
Eco has that uncanny way of writing in that it is though he is speaking directly to you. Great book and wonderful addition to my collection.Published on January 12, 2013 by Patsy Ray
I found this novel discounted down to $1 at a CLOTHING resale store (don't ask me which), and it's likely the best dollar I've ever spent! Read morePublished on January 8, 2013 by Molly Pierson