dinsdag 29 september 2015

Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose

Hi again

Second review of the day.
Why you ask?
Because I was too lazy/reading too much to start reviewing right after I finished a novel at the beginning of the month. Hence an extra review today. And this is also why you get a big book today and an even bigger book tomorrow.

The Name of The Rose by Umberto Eco has 522 pages and this is my third time reading it. My first time doesn’t really count because I was too young to appreciate it fully.
My book also has a big postscript by Umberto Eco about the novel and writing itself.  It also has a translation of all the Latin passages.

 “The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon - all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey.”

Interestingly I’ve only read two Eco novels and never felt the need to read more of his works.

The Name of the Rose is basically a medieval murder mystery. Basically.
The mystery and the plot is very gripping and engrossing. You just can’t put it aside once you’re into it. You want more and more, you want to know who’s next, what to do and how.
But don’t read it if you want a quick, suspenseful detective novel. Because this is not it. This is (not quick and) so much more than that. The first hundred pages were seemingly written to scare away the readers who aren’t committed to this kind of novel. Once you get into it though, you will fly through!

I love the voice of the narrator and I think it was a very smart choice of Eco to choose Adso as his narrator instead of the obvious choice; Brother William.
This way, the novel isn’t chaotic like it must be in William’s head and there is a reason for explaining the whole mystery to someone else. Adso is not the one to solve it so he wants to know why. I find that a lot of novels do the explaining just to get it over with and not as part of the story. Eco makes it part of the story by not choosing the ‘detective’.

The plot keeps on thickening as more people get murdered. It reminds you of how senseless and how unpredictable evil can be. Because try as you might, there’s no scheme or predictability behind it.

The novel is set in a time where traditionally trained people could learn from new theories by people like Brother William. He is inventive, he watches everything like a hawk and he will make sure of his theories by trial and error. It’s the difference between faith and reason or between deductive and inductive reasoning. And I loved that.

I love the details, the thought that must have gone into it, the historic details and knowledge, the elaborate discourses and the descriptions of the lifestyle of these monks. This truly is an epic story.

I also liked all the religious info and debates. It kind of made me even more of an atheist then I already am. It’s very interesting and you get to know where some of the dogmas and the (sometimes contradictory) theories come from.

Aside from all else, this is also a book about books. Beautiful, handcrafted books, unique books, the knowledge in books and the power of reading.

I loved it again.

Happy reading and I’ll see you tomorrow for my last review this month.
Helena