Monday, July 6, 2009

The Name of the Rose, 64/81, 2nd Round

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, historical fiction category

Brother Adso and Brother William travel to a remote convent in Italy. Brother William is there to work for a reconciliation between the Emperor's faction and the Pope's faction within the Catholic church. But his arrival also causes the abbot to investigate the recent death of a brother of their order. More deaths follow soon, and everything points toward an insider being behind it all. William is determined to find out what's behind all of this, even if it means discovering every secret the abbey possesses.

I read one review that describes this as The Da Vinci Code with brains. Possibly. But that doesn't necessarily make it an easy read. All the long, long, paragraphs, the highly technical religious controversies, and all the passages of Latin (With no footnotes! Why not?).

I almost feel like this was two books in one, one that I enjoyed - the mystery, the relationships, the setting - and then the long, pretentious stuff that's rather boring. I got to where I started skipping the boring stuff so I could get to the action. This edition had an afterword by the author, where he longwindedly defends his style and his writing. Maybe. But I disagreed with him. The stuff he defends as crucial to the book are the things I found myself skipping.

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