Sunday, 6 January 2008

Name of the Rose and Sarum

Last night, in the early hours of the morning, I finished the Name of the Rose, thereby concluding my reading of all of Umberto Eco's novels. The Name of the Rose, had in my opinion, the best ending of all his books. The solution to the crimy mystery was a good one, surprising, but still possible to realise ahead of the protagonists, as long as you think some. The story was well paced, the characters good and interesting. All in all, a very good book and a recommended read.

So, now I have, in the span of two weeks, read all five of Umberto Eco's novels. The best one would have to be Focault's Pendulum, but that might be because it dealt with the subjects I am most interested in, occultism and hermeticism. The Name of the Rose comes a close second I think, but they are all so good it feels wrong to choose one over the other. Baudolino was really good as well, and had, I felt, the best translation. Queen Loana dealt with more recent subjects, books and comics from the first half of the century mostly, and really appealed to my own love of books. The Island of the Day Before was my least favorite I guess, but could have suffered from mediocre translation. I somehow felt the ending didn't deliver, mostly language wise. Eco's writing is so poetic and beautiful, it leaves a hard and demanding job of the translator. One day I have to learn Italian and read these books in their original language. All the books are high on my list of favorites, and I greatly recommend all of them.

I have now started on Sarum: The Novel of England, by Edward Rutherford, a historical fiction about the Salisbury Plains in Southern England, where Stonehenge is located. This is a massive book, over 1300 pages, and with an equally massive scope. It starts with the ending of the last great Ice Age, the creation of the British Isles, tells of how the Salisbury Plains then was populated, then continues through history up to recent years I guess. I have only just come to the erection of Stonehenge, 200 pages into the book. So I still have a long way to go. Could take a few days to read, i guess, but updates will follow. So far I like the book, it is written in an easy way, a lot of history is injected into the book, not only of the british isles, but of the rest of Europe as well, making it easy to know where in history you currently are. The chracterisation is lacking in certain spots, but that is mostly due to the few pages some characters receive (and I guess the simple hunter-gatherers at the time didn't have the same emotional range as us). Since the book covers thousands of years, it is apparent that every character cannot be given a lot of room. Rutherford does a good job of describing the society and culture existing at the different historical periods though, this is a book teaching you a lot of British History. So far, so good.

Well, another day off work. Yeay!! Plan to do some more reading, and tonight my dad is having a birthday party (his birthday was on friday). So I guess this is it for now. Until next time


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there:

I'm coming from The Blue Bookshelf. The Name of the Rose is a book I've always wanted to read but never had a chance. One day, I hope.

Happy reading!