I just finished reading The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (published in 1980). Years ago, I read his novel Foucault’s Pendulum (published in 1988), and really enjoyed it. So I decided to read The Name of the Rose, which was also made into a movie. I haven’t seen the movie yet, though I plan to rent it soon. But that said, I was disappointed in the book. It didn’t seem as well written (or as well translated from the original Italian, or perhaps a combination) as Foucault’s Pendulum. Perhaps he was still developing his style.
There are many times where a character goes off on a long diatribe that doesn’t contribute to the plot in any significant way. If I was reading the book in bed, it tended to put me to sleep. I don’t suffer from insomnia, though if I did, I’d probably keep this book nearby. The book is set in a monestary in the Middle Ages, and thus is full of Christian theology and Biblical references. I’ve never been a Christian, but I’m usually interested in mysticism of many types. But for some reason, this particular book seemed overly pendantic. The narrator was likeable enough, and the mystery did hold my interest enough that I plowed my way through the book, but that didn’t overcome the its flaws, from my perspective.
I hope the movie is more interesting.
Have you read the book? Did you enjoy it and find it of value? If so, please enlighten me!
My experience w/Umberto Eco was the reverse of yours. I loved “The Name of the Rose” but found “Foucault’s Pendulum” to be completely unreadable. But that’s not surprising because I find Foucault to be unreadable! IMHO, the movie of “The Name of the Rose” was not as good as the book, but it does have the added advantage of Sean Connery.
I haven’t read it yet, but Eco’s latest book got a great review in the NYTimes awhile back.