This was hard to rate. It was the third time around, and although I devoured it the first time, I meandered through it this time, partly because it was a pain to carry around. It was enjoyable but knowing some of what was going to happen took away from that a bit. It was still pretty awesome and thought-provoking, so I didn’t mind skimming over the odd paragraph that lingered a bit too long. Admittedly, when presented with really long lists like those at the start of the novel, I have a tendency to pick up speed as I read so they get presented as a gush from the character’s awe and amazement. Basically, Adso’s overwhelmed and yet he can recall every detail sixty years later.
I’m still not sure what the point of the outer framing story is though.
I'm not sure there's much I can say here that I didn't already say in my status updates.
This book is long; perhaps not by page count, but psychologically, it often felt endless.
Eco is a very talented writer if the only measurements of talent were creating a sense of place, bringing many characters to life, and plotting out a good story. But he writes excessively. His sentences run on well past anybody's idea of reasonable, he cannot stop himself from creating lists in narrative form that often run over a page long, and the theological lessons were excessively excessive. All up, if you could go back and edit the book to include only plot related scenes, I'm not sure the book would be 200 pages long.
But those 200 pages would have made a spectacular read. The abbey, the labyrinthine library, the passages, the codes, the books... the murders. So much atmosphere, so much potential!
The book is broken into 7 days and most of the plot snowballs and takes place in days 6 and 7. Here William of Baskerville once again channels his inner Sherlock, and the showdown is magnificent. And tragic. Days 6 and 7 earned this book the third star.
I'm not sorry at all that I read this; I complained a lot along the way, but a lot of it stuck with me. Still, unless you enjoy a richly written verbosity in your reads, I can't recommend this one. If the setting and plot sound like your thing - and I can't believe I'm going to say this - watch the movie instead.
Well. Day 5 was a humdinger.
Eco found his groove in day 5; he managed to squeeze in a brawl among monks (which was hilarious, another dead body, a witch, two heretics, the missing book, which was found, then lost, then found, then lost, then found again, only to be lost again and finally an inquisitional trial capped off with a recitation of the book of Revelation, disguised as a eulogy.
All this plot development might lead one to believe that Eco finally got all the soliloquies and monologues out of his system, but one would be wrong. Eco is a multi-tasker! He juggles fast paced, mysterious developments with mind-numbing exposition and I'm betting at this point he can do it one handed with his eyes closed.
I'm teasing (mostly), as things are moving at a decent clip now - they'd have to be, there's only two days left!
But I gotta admit, I'm not sure I'd have wanted to find myself cornered by Eco at a cocktail party.