The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

View from this book:

Name of the Rose was another book that I started hace años, but I accidentally left it at a friend’s house for a couple of years.  Whoops!  As soon as I got it back, I re-read the first part and devoured the rest.

The book:

This book was published in 1980 in Italian and is seemingly experiencing a resurgence in English—I saw tablesfull of it at Costco and OMG I just found out that this was made into a Sean Connery movie in the 80s. Squeee!—Anyways, back to the Connery-less book: The Name of the Rose is set in a 14th Century in an Italian monastery and there is a series of murders.  What ho!  Medieval Times! Italy! Murders! This must be good.

We follow the narrator, a bumbling novice monk, around the monastery, searching for clues and forming hypotheses about l’assassino misterioso.  (Cue music.)  TNotR, however, isn’t your typical murder-mystery, although the murdery bits are quite mystery-y.  The book was written by a professor of semiotics, and it shows: the author spends pages making the narrator believable, as well as giving us readers the minute details of scholarly debates that were happening within the Catholic Church in Ye Olden Days.  All of this happens to be quite interesting, but, as I said in my review of this book that I stopped reading like a minute before I picked up Name of the Rose, I was more interested in the beach-read and/or sword-fight genre (or both? recommendations, anyone?) at that particular moment.  Luckily, this book provides excitement and death (the exciting kind, plus a little bit of the sad kind) in generous dollops.  Over the course of the story, seven monks die  (I’m not giving anything away here, I swear; this is all on the back cover) and our novice narrator discovers some dark things which are all very historico-swashbuckly.  Grab hold of your habits, O Reader, and pick this book up at Costco along with your giganto packs of frozen coconut shrimp and your Sean Connery Box Set.  7 out of 10.

Name of the Rose

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