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La Mystérieuse Flamme de la reine Loana
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La Mystérieuse Flamme de la reine Loana

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3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  7,074 ratings  ·  634 reviews
Qui est Yambo ? A l'issue d'un coma, il a tout oublié, sa famille, son métier, son passé, ses amis, son enfance, les femmes qu'il a aimées... Par Gratarolo son médecin, Paola son épouse, Gianni son ami, Amalia, gardienne d'une maison de campagne immense au grenier chargé de secrets, il apprendra qu'il vit en 1991, qu'il a presque soixante ans, qu'il a enfants et petits-enf ...more
Broché, 492 pages
Published March 15th 2005 by Grasset (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Joanne
I expected a lot from this book when I bought it, and I have to say that I was quite dissappointed.

I liked the lead character a lot, and the offset for the plot was excellent, but it seemed to me that he (Eco)didn't play around enough with all the possibilities which his character's situation allowed.
At Solara, the idea of trying to recover his history by surrounding himself with his childhood things was very appealing to me, but at some point I got sick of rummaging through old vinyl discs and
...more
Sara
The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana tells of an antiquarian book dealer who has suffered a stroke and lost all memory of the people in and events of his life. At the novel's outset, the protagonist, Yambo, begins the daunting work of trying to reinsert himself into the life he has forgotten. He finds that he does not recognize his family or closest friends, but can still appraise a 17th-century work of natural history. His only sparks of memory relate to books he has read. These come back to him ...more
April
I read every 449 pages of this book... and feel like I wasted a lot of time. This book needs SO MUCH editing. The premise and some of the ideas presented had great potential for a very interesting story, however it fails in almost every way. There is no characterization, the story barely moves from page 1 to page 449, and there are many story lines which are left unfinished. 90% of the book is tedious description of dated material such as books, records, photographs, etc. which are suppose to ev ...more
Lavina
I was about 150 pages into the book when I started feeling the way you feel when you're looking through stacks of photo albums with someone you don't really know, who's telling you very detailed stories about people you've never met and places you've never been -- people and places to whom you have no connection.

In the end, the concept of the book (which is what drew me to it in the first place) was what made it weak. People are interesting because of their experiences, their memories of them, t
...more
Kate
This book really disappointed in the end, after giving a fairly fascinating glimpse of the culture of an Italian childhood under Fascism. I was enjoying the plot and then suddenly it ends in this inexplicable way, as if Eco suddenly got horribly sick of writing the thing. I'm keeping it for the gorgeous color reproductions.
Guy
The beauty and richness of Eco's language is as good as it gets in this book. Every sentence was a work of verbal art. The language sang, to me. I was awed by its power. Truly a great novel.

Example:
This man, a failure since birth, not only reads, he also writes. I could write, too, could add my own monsters to those that scuttle with their ragged claws across the silent sea floors. That man ruins his eyes over pages on which he sets down his obsessions in muddy ink from inkwells whose bottoms ar
...more
Noce
L'Eco dei ricordi

Quando lessi questo libro una decina di anni fa, mi affidai a una visione panoramica dell’insieme. E mi piacque. Riletto adesso, e aggrappandomi a una visione panoramica dell’insieme, mi piace.

Dare lo stesso giudizio a un libro, a distanza di dieci anni, è quasi sconfortante per un lettore medio forte, convinto di evolversi continuamente in una maturità letteraria che va di pari passo con le sue letture. Se non fosse, che in questo caso, riesco a percepire quei dettagli per cui
...more
Sonia Gomes
Jun 29, 2014 Sonia Gomes rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Persons who like books about Second World War
Recommended to Sonia by: Got it from a Library
The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
Author: Umberto Eco
Translator: Geoffrey Brock

It has a been a long time since I have read “The Name of the Rose’ it is one of the most fascinating books. Since then the Catholic Church and its politics have intrigued me. So when I got ‘The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana’ I was thrilled, would it be like 'The Name of the Rose’ so beautiful, so intriguing?
No it wasn't, or was I missing something.
The reviews that I read mention it as deep, a profound meditation,
...more
Samantha
This is the first book that I did not completely mangle in my comings and goings from work. The pages are still crisp and the cover has not fallen off. I consider this an accomplishment, because for me, the sign of a good book is one that is beaten up and dog-eared. I LOVED this novel. It is the first Umberto Eco book that I have read and it was a delight to read.
The main character, a very loveable Italian gentleman named Yambo awakens from a stroke to find that his personal memory bank has been
...more
Sarah Archer-beck
I'll admit that I was initially drawn to this book because of the great pictures - reproductions of pop culture media from the 30s and 40s. I have liked previous books by Eco as much for their interesting plots as for their philosophical ruminations. Unfortunately, this book was really short on an interesting story line and seemed to be purely a vehicle for Eco to riff on the themes of memory, identity, childhood in wartime Italy, and whatever else occurred to him.

The first section of the book,
...more
Yani
Dec 18, 2013 Yani rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: interesados en la Segunda Guerra Mundial a quienes no les importen los spoilers
Tengo opiniones encontradas con respecto a este libro. Por un lado, me encantó. Por el otro, me produjo incomodidad. Había leído una entrevista en donde Eco afirma que esta es su novela menos erudita, pero a medida que iba pasando las páginas, lo único que veía era una admirable complejidad (que siempre se agradece, como suelo decir). Por ende, dejé de creerle.

La misteriosa llama de la reina Loana tiene como protagonista a Yambo, un hombre que pierde la memoria pero conserva un conocimiento en
...more
Marius van Blerck
After a recent diet of rather good thrillers and mysteries, I decided to try Umberto Eco’s most recent book, for a change of pace. A change it most definitely was – the pace of Queen Loana is decidedly slow (occasionally practically coming to a standstill), the tale intriguing, the atmosphere foggy and the concepts challenging. I "read" the audiobook and George Guidall (whom I will always associate with the narration of "Crime and Punishment") narrates this work in exactly the right manner. I ca ...more
carynn
I was so disappointed, just kept reading because I thought it had to somehow be fantastic (I absolutely loved name of the rose) but actually got worse. I loved the initial concept of a man who can suddenly only remember all the books that he has read, and all the graphics were really interesting, but for me it just fell flat. The story wasn’t enough and I didn’t particularly enjoy the writing either.
Dan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Justin
A tender, nostalgic, and at times painful account of an amnesiac old bookseller's attempt to recover his life's memories, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana reads as though it could quite possibly be Eco's own memoir. Certainly, details have been changed to protect the innocent--our protagonist Yambo did his dissertation on the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, while Eco did his on aesthetics in the Middle Ages, for example--but these are mere cosmetic details. Eco is at an age now where he can clearl ...more
Rick Davis
This was not as engrossing as The Name of the Rose and not as complex as Foucault's Pendulum, but The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana hit me harder and at a more personal level than Eco's other books. The theme is nostalgia and personal identity. Through Yambo's amnesia, Eco explores the way in which we construct our identities through scraps from our past: what books we've read, movies we've seen, music we've heard, experiences we've had. It also shows that what we choose to forget and how we c ...more
Jean Tessier
My other favorite author. Usually not an easy read, but you end up less stupid for it.

The main character lost his memory and relives his childhood by examining the litterature he was reading as a child in fascist Italy: comic books, translated novels, fascist propaganda. It is a very good look at a fascinating world. Later, when the main character regains his memory, he takes stock of his life and looks at how his life was shaped by patterns and events in his youth and teenage years.

I was a litt
...more
Joyce Lagow
Sixty-year old rare book dealer Yampo wakes up in a hospital in Milan after a stroke with only one aftereffect� a complete loss of his personal memory. He can remember every line of every book he ever read, but does not know who he is, who his wife and children are, what he looks like, what he feels like (he has no memory of what his skin feels like)� in short, his whole personality is gone.[return][return]What follows is a journey for Yampo into recovering his past. The process of recovering hi ...more
Dimitri
Umberto Eco is always prone to uncontrollable wordiness but the reader is usually compensated by the fascinated plot, complex characters, and general atmoshpere of his books. It is also generally the case that when Eco goes off in a tangent, it is to show off his knowledge in history and symbolism which personally I find interesting.

This books is an exception. It preserves the charactistic verbosity of the author bu the plot fails to become gripping or evolve in any significant direction. Also t
...more
Christopher Bennett
First of all, I like Umberto, and I think he's an intellectual superstar.
But I don't think he's a great novelist, and this book is why. This book was trying to swallow an enormous amount of philosophical pondering that is only barely sugar-coated by narrative. Really hard to take in, worst was the 50 pages of random literary and philosophical associations littering the beginning of the book.
The only reason this gets 2 stars is I liked all the historical anecdotes from Italy in the 40's and 50's
...more
Spotsalots
One of the few books read in the last 25 years that has earned a place on my list of all-time favorites. Such a rich exploration of memory and our relationship to our own past, via the story of an older (but not yet elderly) rare-book dealer who loses and gradually regains his memory of his life.

Memory has always been an important theme for me; likewise, the ways in which our childhood and young-adult experiences shape us. This book is itself bound up in memories for me. I bought it in Prague an
...more
Anas Elgaood
If you're interested in getting a grasp on how the Fascists, or any political ideology based on repression like any other ideology, had handled public opinion, in an atmosphere of a novel that is completely dazzling because you watch the character being reborn and reliving his childhood through the dust and rummaging in the house of Solara and climbing up and down the gorge and every possible comic book he'd lay hands on. Yambo in this novel is a multidimensional characters who made more of his ...more
Melissa Mann
I rounded up 3.5 stars...

As a translator, I am confident in stating the problem with translation is translation. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana is meant to be read in its original and by those who truly appreciate pop culture and memories thereof. The words are well translated into English; the ideas are adapted properly to English; the strain lies in this: Latin-based language speakers culturally use five sentences where an English-speaker would use one. Normally, this is not a problem; we
...more
Ron
Eco's warmest and most accessible novel is also maddeningly impenetrable on a certain level. It is a thinly veiled literary autobiography couched as an amnesiac's mystery, but what could have been a fascinating tale of memory and its construction is undercut by a ceaseless nostalgia for cultural artifacts that only Eco himself could fully appreciate. Most readers will not connect with anything that he references until the protagonist explores the 1950s paper trail of his past, and what little he ...more
kt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim Elkins
I read parts of this (I couldn't read the middle hundred pages) as part of a project to read novels with images. Eco calls this "An Illustrated Novel," partly alluding to the comic books that he remembers from his childhood. I found the book intolerable.


1: The narrator's knowledgeable voice

Well-read and scholarly authors, like Canetti or Richard Powers, tend to be praised by people who think they have endless erudition. I think that's a mistaken way to evaluate an author, because no author I kn
...more
thegift
'Tell me what you like, I will tell you who you are'- culture Geek credo... this is a fascinating start with recovering life in Fascist Italy, to romantic end in French plays like 'Cyrano de Bergerac', frustrating, work that certainly shows its heritage in culture, in era, in the interests of Umberto Eco, that being popular culture like Mickey Mouse to details of the booksellers trade. only reason it is not a five is that much reference is to culture of the places, of wartime, that I do not know ...more
Ardesia
Ho trovato le premesse della vicenda poco credibili; una storia così farraginosa avrebbe almeno dovuto fare un tentativo di ancoraggio a una trama plausibile. Inoltre tutta quella nenia ininterrotta di citazioni... Ok, bella idea creare un personaggio costruito su una rete di ricordi letterari, ma dopo un paio di pagine che noia!
Mi sono molto piaciute le parti centrali del romanzo, quella dedicate al parallelismo tra le canzoni degli anni '35 - '45 e gli inni fascisti e quella relativa alle lett
...more
Isabelle
Very tough for me to say as I am a die-hard Umberto Eco fan, but I think this book is a misfire... I would rather Eco had constructed it as a personal memoir on the books and cartoons of his formative years. I am sure this could be of great interest to readers who know enough about modern Italian literature and also to historians and scholars of the fascist era.
I just felt that the idea of inserting this material in a novel just did not work. There is not enough plot to justify such long diatrib
...more
Alex
I have to agree with most of the other reviewers - I had high expectations for this book based on both the concept and my experiences reading Eco's other works, but in the end I was disappointed. I actually came across the book on my shelf a few weeks ago and remembered reading it part-way through last year. So I thought I'd give it another try. I skimmed until I found where I left off, and tried to continue. After a while I realized I recognized what I was reading and skipped ahead. This happen ...more
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Umberto Eco is an Italian writer of fiction, essays, academic texts, and children's books, and certainly one of the finest authors of the twentieth century. A professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, Eco’s brilliant fiction is known for its playful use of language and symbols, its astonishing array of allusions and references, and clever use of puzzles and narrative inventions. His per ...more
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