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Not your typical Eco (is there such a thing?) ...
on October 27, 2014
But still worth the read. Whereas Name of the Rose was narrated by a 3rd person (Adso, as diarist), PC is presented through the mind(s) of the protagonist. There is some confusion on the part of the reader, because the protagonist is himself confused, and relates (a) fragmented story(ies) from his diary/diaries. Eco hints but does not confirm whether the protagonist is a mental wreck or there are hidden mysteries and persons yet to be presented to the reader. As such, the reader is forced to experience the story through the broken mind of the protagonist Simonini, who is, in many ways, a multiple fraud and knows it. The historical allusions are, as one might expect, up to the author's high standards, although you must remember you're reading about history through the eyes of someone who might not be the most objective observer.
Unlike the conclusions of "I, Claudius" (Graves) or "The Egyptian" (Waltari), PC's ending leaves the reader unsatisfied, because when Simonini reaches the end of the written diary, it ... just ... stops. The reader must surmise what, if anything, is the fate of the narrator, Simonini. This is totally unlike his earlier works, "The Name of the Rose" or "Foucault's Pendulum", in which the endings wrap things up in a believable and acceptable manner.
Ultimately, those readers who like Eco, will likely find this novel exactly the kind of thing they like. Enjoy.