9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Sharp, but not as sharp as he thinks,
This review is from: How To Travel With A Salmon: and Other Essays (Paperback)
Eco has obviuosly been highly praised for his wit and observation, and this is born out by the self assured style of delivery in this collection of small pieces. The observations are very clever and in most cases have been thought out in depth and are set out with beautiful clarity, leaving the simple images lolling comfortingly in the warm lap of the reader rather than hounding with supercillious derision.
There's plenty in this book to laugh at, but there is surprisingly little that separates it from a decent observation based stand-up comedian; the format allows Eco to show that he is not just milking laughs out of the same material that Ben Elton might tread out; he adds from his own considerable store of knowledge and his analytical skill.
Although the subjects covered in this book are impressively varied, this may in fact be one of its flaws; its aim is far wider than that of the earlier celebrated Wits who might only have commented on their immediate social surroundings. Eco travels all around the world, and comments on everything from American Trains to Swiss Customs to Kafkaesque driving licence applications in Itlay, but one feels that if his aim had been kept sharper, perhaps limited to his native country, the wit may have been sharper than he thinks it is.
On the whole, though, if you are looking for intelligent, but easy to read and amusing observations this book is unlikely to disappoint, and is worth picking up