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Sunday Scoop

The Name of the Rose

By Umberto Eco

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Hello it is Sunday once again! Where does the time go? I have been to the grocery store and mopped the kitchen floor. Whew, time for a break! It is the first of December already. Christmas will be here before you know it. I had a great weekend. I have read eight chapters of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and I am about halfway through another book.

This is not a new book. It was published in 1994. Umberto is Italian and this was originally published in Italian and later translated to English. Umberto Eco has actually written quite a few books, but this is the first one that I have heard of.  It is a historical murder mystery that revolves around a 14th century monastery. I saw a recommendation for this book when I read The Book of Madness and Cures. Someone had compared the two and felt that The Name of the Rose was a better book and this is was intrigued me. I don’t see a lot of strong comparison points other than they are both historical mysteries.

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Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and his novice Adso of Melk travel to a Benedictine monastery in Northern Italy to attend a theological disputation. As they arrive, the monastery is disturbed by a suicide. As the story unfolds, several other monks die under mysterious circumstances. William is tasked by the abbot of the monastery to investigate the deaths as fresh clues with each murder victim lead William to dead ends and new clues. The protagonists explore a labyrinthine medieval library, discuss the subversive power of laughter, and come face to face with the Inquisition. William’s innate curiosity and highly developed powers of logic and deduction provide the keys to unravelling the mysteries of the abbey. (plot summary from Wikipedia)

I was disappointed that many people on LibraryThing did not finish this novel. I think this is a very good book and should be considered a classic. Who would have thought that a monastery could be the hub of such corruption? Murders, sex, herbs, priceless books and lust for money lead the monks into trouble. I enjoyed learning about the lifestyle of the monks. The day-to-day glimpses of their lives. The book includes the philosophy and theology of the time period. There is also a missing book and a very mysterious library. While this book is a long one, it kept me reading and waiting to see what would happen next. It only took me a week to read it. I liked the writer’s writing style. I wish that I would have read it on my kindle paper white though. There are many Latin phrases and words that are not translated and I think this takes away from the story when you don’t know what it is saying. I agree with others that this book would be better if it contained translation of the Latin passages. What you don’t know Latin? I don’t think many people know it these days! I still liked the book overall anyway. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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