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Foucaults Pendulum. Unknown Binding – 1989


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  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: 1989 (1989)
  • ASIN: B002MXQ2VY
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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That was when I saw the Pendulum. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Gregory S. Buzwell TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Jun 2006
Format: Paperback
This is not an easy read, indeed the first forty pages or so make some of the most intense demands on the reader of any book I have ever read, but if you have a love of the mysterious, the obscure and the sinister it is well worth persisting with. The way the story unfolds is quite ingenious and you will, if nothing else, learn a huge amount of obscure history along the way.

The basic premise of the plot is actually quite simple: three editors in a Milan publishing house specializing in wildly whacky works on the mystical and the occult begin, for their own amusement, to make speculative connections between the various way-out theories put forward in the manuscripts submitted for publication. To their amazement it soon transpires that they might be on to something, something so important that their own lives are suddenly put at risk.

Eco clearly had great fun with this, throwing every crack-pot theory and esoteric religious belief into the mix. The Templars are there, of course, as are the Rosicrucians, the darker branches of the Catholic church and the Masons. The Hollow Earth theory is given a spin, Khabbala is discussed, Dr Dee puts in an appearance and the measurements of the great pyramids in Egypt provide the answers to nearly everything. It is all beautifully explained, so outlandishly implausible that maybe, just maybe, it has to be true......
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Dalby VINE VOICE on 16 Dec 2008
Format: Paperback
This is not an easy book to read but now you have wikipedia at your fingertips at least some of the terminology will not be incomprehensible. Like all of Eco's books there are stories within stories about books about imagined books and about real and impossible conspiracies.

The real message of the book is Eco's views on story telling and "popular delusions - conspiracy theories" things that we all want to be real even if they are not, and how the story can escape from its authors.

It covers the same territory as made familiar by the da Vinci code - templars and hidden treasures and the bloodline of Christ, with hidden societies and dark. Cabalism plays an important role in the story especially the view that all the stories of the world can be made by rearranging all the words of the Torah. The chapters are broken into sections that correspond to the pathway of the journey to enlightenment. This is very much like Borges' idea of an infinite library from Labyrinths.

So it is worth the struggle to see a brilliant mind trying to understand the world about us and the worlds we create for ourselves.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. D. Hopkins on 25 July 2011
Format: Paperback
I came to Foucault's Pendulum after greatly enjoying Name of the Rose and this is a very different book altogether.

The premise can be read on the blurb and makes the book come across as an 'intellectual thriller'. The first few chapters and the last few are indeed those of an intellectual thriller and the hard work is in-between. It could be argued that skipping the most part of the book and just reading the parts from the periscope to the periscope would give a great short-story. However you'd miss a lot of seawater and 2+2=5 not to mention an insane amount of historical and occult conspiracy. All that is great stuff but is bogged down by frustrating attempts of characterisation: a 100 pages, or so it seemed, is given over to the main character going to South America and I was bored witless with the wooden conversations and monologue. Later he becomes a father which plays no part in anything much and the relationship with the mother serves one purpose, that of a discovery concerning a 'shopping list', which was indeed very funny but long-winded.

In fact, no reviews I've read have mentioned the humour in this book: I laughed out loud on a number of occasions.

I would've given Foucault's Pendulum 4-stars if Eco had edited to a stricter regime.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chessman on 19 Mar 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the third of Eco's novels I have read. I am enamoured of his style and ultimately, this is why I enjoy his novels. As an Italian he displays mastery of the literary genre in another language - a remarkable ability.

Ultimately, I was unable to appreciate this particular novel's deep knowledge and arcana. That is a failing on my part. I imagine that many readers may face the same degree of bewilderment at the level of historical detail that fills many of the pages, and for those that can, you are in for a treat.

My admiration for Eco is definetely for style. I still enjoyed Foucault's Pendulum, but for the sound of the words rather than the plot.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Oct 2004
Format: Paperback
Whilst the plot is deep and complex, there is a fundamental theme that conspiracy theories (for which the Grail, Knights Templar and Masons are significant entities) can be construed as a set of alternative, unrelated, connections. The view that conspiracists will read into a connection any conspiracy that is required to be made as long as the joins are logical seems to flow. The by-product is a caution from Eco against a mis-guided logic along the Python lines: if it floats, it must be made of wood!
The staggering amount of additional literature that is suggested can be read opens the opportunity for conspiracy unbounded, but should be taken with care.
It is a very difficult book to become involved in and is, like a lot of Eco's work, very complex and particularly dry. Saying that, it is worth the effort (and effort it is) to get to the cliff-hanging conclusion.
To be read and enjoyed but not taken in a literal sense.
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