5 over 500: The Name of the Rose

All right, so Abebooks said that this book counts as magical realism. I was like sweet I can finish my over 500 challenge and continue my world tour of magical realism. (I could also theoretically do this with A Winter’s Tale, but the reviews of that book are sooooo lukewarm I have been slow to tackle it. And to think I used to get annoyed with friends who only wanted to go to movies with good reviews.)

This was not magical realism. I understand that magical realism has about a million definitions but there needs to at least be some sort of magic, I feel all the definitions agree on this, and there were no supernatural events that I could discern.  Maybe a tiny bit of precognition.  But no pots turning into worms or angry ghosts/people who will not stay dead.  There were a lot of deaths in this one, but guess what: everyone stayed that way.

This book was discounted on Amazon through the month of June (mayhaps into July but I am writing this post in June so I can’t tell the future) and somehow I accidentally paid for the audio version and sometimes when I accidentally violate my inconsistent how to be a cheap ass rules I justify it by saying it was meant to be.  Not by returning the purchase which could make more sense.  If I am not being cheap it is for a spiritual reason, right?   God wants me to have it.

This book is often described as a murder mystery, and it is, but there is a lot more to it than that.  The monks in the 13th century Franciscan abbey debate the philosophical/theological disagreements of their time, as well as the narrator wrestling with his own conception of sins of the flesh and how they can deepen ones relationship to God and with the world.  So there are philosophical parts, and then after a particularly pithy go round about something like if Jesus laughed or not (which is one of the actual debates) Eco puts in more exciting things, like someone dies or discusses sex, which then refreshes my brain a little to read through the next philosophical chunk.  I don’t  mind a good philosophy wrestle if some of my more base interests are intermittently piqued.  Also, the main protagonist does a lot of Sherlock Holmes-type deduction which I find fascinating.

I can’t say I couldn’t benefit from another re-read because I am sure I missed some points and I didn’t have sparknotes helping a sister out, and I did read the preface where some context is supplied.  I looked on Wiki after reading it but Wiki has spoilers and if I knew the end I might not have been able to hang in.   So clearly I wouldn’t tell the end.

It was DaVinci Code-esque in some of the themes, like hidden knowledge, mysteries and code, but it is not so fast paced and universally appealing.  Requires brainwork. And patience with untranslated globs of Latin. If I had not been reading other more immediately gratifying works this book would have chewed down my delicate brain cogs a bit. So I really hope no one reads this book because they think I said it is just like Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code and totally get irritated with me and completely disregard my blog.  If you want to disregard my blog, cool, but at least have it be over something legit.

My dad said that The Name of the Rose was also a great movie.

I’d check out more Eco.  I wonder if some of his other works are a touch more accessible but I have not cased Goodreads enough to know.

So, I finished this book by the end of June so I completed this challenge in six months.  I still want to keep on with the fat tomes before my attention span dwindles even more as I age.  Funny aside though, it is amazing how my attention span extends once I take even a day or two from work.  It’s like a complete brain refresh.  I have other books for reading challenges that are over 500 and I am still working on beating my page number from 2012. At the end of June I was over halfway there!

Comments/Questions/Likes/Shares are great.


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