The Name Of The Rose (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 5 Feb 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Just like 'Foucault's Pendulum' with all its Hebrew, mysticism and Kabballah (which I love), if you don't like the incidental stuff (like the Latin) in Name of the Rose then just plough through it - and then savour the richness of the characterisation and the clever and meticulously dove-tailed intricacies of the plot which is unravelled at a perfect pace before you.
The basic story is pure Conan Doyle - with the aptly named main Holmes-esque character William of Baskerville being one of the most wonderful characters of any book I've read (on a par with John Le Carre's Barley Scott Blair - coincidentally both characters being played by Sean Connery in the movie versions of their respective books). Baskerville makes the same observations and inferences as the Victorian detective and even says, "elementary" as a playful reference to his fictional mentor (Eco has that sense of fun - like concluding that an encoded scrap of paper thought to hold the secrets to an ancient secret world order of Templars (in Foucault's Pendulum) was actually just a shopping list).
The other characters at the Monastery are utterly vivid, disturbing and grotesque - straight out of an Hieronymus Bosch painting. I really can't rate this book highly enough. Eco needn't be hard work, he does try and be clever (which, let's face it, he is.....very, very clever) but there's no need to get bogged down by the peripheral stuff and commentary if that's not your thing. If it is your thing then this novel will become one of the most cherished and well-thumbed items in your book case - just don't lick your finger when turning the pages.......(you'll need to read the book to understand that last comment).
I would also like to reassure readers, who might think that knowledge of Latin is essential to understanding and enjoying this work. It is not. A good grasp of Latin will add to the enjoyment, no doubt, but the casual reader can just skip through the quotations. What is given in Latin is background information, also making the work more authentic. However, nothing relevant to the actual plot is hidden from the reader who only knows vernacular languages.
All in all a gripping read, which will change the reader's perception of libraries for ever!
First of all, dispel any thoughts of the rather tame and dreary film that cam out in the 80s as it just did not do justice to this remarkable novel. Yes, it is frighteningly dark and sinister but there's a real warmth and kindly wisdom about Willaim of Baskerville and an endearing naivety from his young charge, Adso, to help the reader through the very grimmest of the plot developments.
While the setting provides a suitably unsettling backdrop to the grisly goings on, the heart of this book is in it's characters from the pious abbott, the disturbing Salvatore, the sinister Jorge and the downright terrifying Bernardo Gui of the dreaded Inquisition, all of whom are fleshed out with their own stories. Adso asks he questions the reader wants answered in a Dr Watson type way, while sleuthy William of Baskerville ( a none too subtle tip of the deerstalker hat to Arthur Conan Doyle by the author) provides the answers... and answers them with riddles.
The Name Of The Rose sheds a glimemr of light on a disturbing period of European history when plague and famine were a constant concern and religious fanatacism was the real power governing people's lives. While set several centuries ago, the theme of dogmatic zealots throwing their weight around to the peril of ordinary people is all too familiar in today's troubled times and modern day parallels are, sadly, all too easy to draw.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is heavy going and strongly loaded with religious 14th Century debate well before the reformation. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Colin Banks
I THINK I liked this novel, although I'm not 100% sure! I found it really difficult to read in places, and must admit that when the characters were going into incredibly long... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joystick
I found it impossible to get through even the first day of the five the story purported to cover. Totally inaccessible to anybody not conversant in Latin and so pedestrian were the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alan Holmes
The kindle edition does not include Eco's 'Reflections on the Name of the Rose'Published 3 months ago by Maria
If you read the negative reviews of this book you will variously encounter the following:
"...I didn't actually finish the book".... Read more
I approached The Name of the Rose with some trepidation. It was a thick paperback, and it came with a reputation of being a challenging read… and a few pages in it became clear... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Victoria Louise Hill
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