Holly's Reviews > The Name of the Rose

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
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's review
Jan 18, 14

bookshelves: re-read, 2012-reads
Read from May 10 to 16, 2012

It's become overused book blurb-hyperbole of the past 30 years to gush that a new novel is an ersatz "Name of the Rose" or "for those readers who loved The Name of the Rose" or a "cross between The Name of the Rose and fill-in-the-blank," but those glib claims are made of any novel with a medieval setting, or that toys with a theological theme, or involves books, labyrinths, or high-brow detective sleuthing. So I've read some lousy novels that purport to offer me a reading experience like the one I had when I was 21 years old, poring over my mass-market copy of The Name of the Rose, reading slowly and carefully. Because those tropes are not really The Name of the Rose - they are crucial scaffolding (the novel wasn't set in the Late Middle Ages - 1327 - by accident), but what makes this novel unique is the pages and pages of medieval philosophy and theological argument, the history and erudition and scholarship. And the inferior imitations always miss what I think is the really delicious secret of Eco's novels. (spoiler: The secret is there is no secret)


One of my favorite novels ever. There are hundreds of titles on my "to-read" list and I have work piling up on my desk, but I just want to be bad.

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