Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on March 14, 2015
This is an odd book. Ostensibly about curiosity, Manguel uses this concept as a springboard for whatever takes his fancy, presumably organized by themes that make the title of each of the chapters.

On top of this nominal framework, the whole enterprise is diffused through the prism of Dante's Commedia. Why? Apparently Manguel becomes obsessed with various books at different points in his life, and discovering the riches of Dante later in life, he is currently immersed thinking through that great work, and by extension, so are we.

His tangents are often fascinating, sometimes less so, often seemingly tethered by the merest thread to the topic on hand. A chapter on the representation of thought by writing veers off into the Inca way of representing thought by a series of knots organized by shape and color known as quipu. A chapter on How Do We Question concentrates on various medieval commentators on the Talmud.

This book doesn't rigorously explore the concept of curiosity so much as embody its workings in the author.The reader travels along with him on his intellectual and often literary explorations, sometimes leading to open vistas, sometimes down a cul-de-sac. This is a frequently enlightening, usually entertaining journey, so long as there isn't any place you are in a hurry to get to.

N.B. I've been assured no cats were killed in the writing of this book.
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