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The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

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3.35  ·  Rating details ·  10,027 ratings  ·  859 reviews
Yambo, a sixtyish rare-book dealer who lives in Milan, has suffered a loss of memory-he can remember the plot of every book he has ever read, every line of poetry, but he no longer knows his own name, doesn't recognize his wife or his daughters, and remembers nothing about his parents or his childhood. In an effort to retrieve his past, he withdraws to the family home some ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published June 5th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published June 2004)
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3.35  · 
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 ·  10,027 ratings  ·  859 reviews


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Leore Joanne Green
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
Sophie
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Όχι τόσο εντυπωσιακό όσο το Όνομα του Ρόδου, ούτε τόσο περίπλοκο όσο φαντάζομαι πως είναι το Εκκρεμές του Φουκώ, εντούτοις το συγκεκριμένο μυθιστόρημα χτυπά τον αναγνώστη πιο σκληρά κι άμεσα, σε πιο προσωπικό επίπεδο.

Τα κεντρικά μοτίβα είναι η νοσταλγία, η προσωπική ταυτότητα κι, ουσιαστικά, η μνήμη. Μέσα από την αμνησία του πρωταγωνιστή Γιάμπο ο Eco διερευνά τον τρόπο με τον οποίο ο καθένας από εμάς κατασκευάζει την ταυτότητά του μέσα από αποκόμματα, θραύσματα του παρελθόντος του, μέσα από τα β
...more
April
Nov 04, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Sara
Jul 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nehirin~
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bir gün gelecek: Biliyorum,
Bu ateşli kan ansızın duracak.
Kalemim tiz bir ses çıkaracak,
Ve işte o zaman ben öleceğim.

Umberto Eco... Saygıyla selamlıyorum.
Kate
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meta
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.
Yani
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Rick Davis
Dec 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
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
Guy
Nov 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: multiple-reads
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
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Irena
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Z.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
For the longest time I have wanted to tackle one of Umberto Eco’s novels. I knew they were unique so I have digested his fifth work, THE MYSTERIOUS FLAME OF QUEEN LOANA. To say the least the book was different from anything I have ever read. Eco introduces the main character a Giambattista Bodoni, with Yambo as a nickname suffering from memory loss due to a heart attack. He lives in Milan and is fifty-nine years of age and he is crushed by the fact that he can remember things from the distant pa ...more
Sonia Gomes
Feb 21, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Fiona
The premise of this book is that Yambo, a rare book dealer, has had some sort of illness that has caused amnesia. He doesn't recognise his wife and children but he can remember the capital of Madagascar, the dates of famous battles and endless quotations from literature. He is obsessed with quotations about fog and compares his mental state to thinking through a fog. So far so good. Up to a point, I found his situation quite interesting.

As part of his recovery process, Yambo goes to the family e
...more
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 his ...more
Ellen
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely imaginative work, Umberto Eco's "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana" takes the reader through the history of Italy from the pre-WW II era through the early 2000s, following a man's desperate effort to remember his life after suffering an "incident" - a brain event in which he's lost the part of his memory that contains his personal experiences, the details of his life, his childhood, and especially his emotions as they relate to his life. When he awakens from a coma Yambo cannot re ...more
Samantha
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love-it
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
Nov 05, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Melissa Mann
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Michael Battaglia
A fun game you can play with yourself if you're somewhat morbid and are capable of the level of self-reflection required is to imagine if you died suddenly and strangers were the only people left to go through your crap, what kind of impression would they get of you (presuming you own a lot of stuff, if all you own are sixteen of the same suit and pajamas covered in images of nondescript produce then they may not know what to think) based on what you owned. Would they think you were brilliant, s ...more
Dimitri
Jun 14, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Julián
May 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italia, historia
Cuando uno se llama Umberto Eco le publican cualquier cosa. Si llega a sacar una edición comentada sobre su colección de sellos o de chapas también se la habrían publicado, seguro. Pues eso es más o menos este libro. Un repaso a una colección de comics, libros infantiles y juveniles, estampas y demás parafernalia que va encontrando en la casa solariega de sus padres un señor que ha perdido la memoria. Además, algunos recuerdos de infancia y juventud y tal.

Pero Eco era un monstruo. Y como tal mon
...more
Jean Tessier
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leisure
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
Marius van Blerck
May 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2007, didntlike
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.
Алена Tалапіла
Я дачытала гэтую кнігу з другой спробы. Першы раз ледзьве прачытала старонак дваццаць, другі раз - праглынула за два дні.

Самае важнае для мяне ў гэтай кнізе - дзяцінства героя ў фашысцкай Італіі, настойлівыя пытанні: я верыў у прапаганду? я любіў дучэ? у што верыла мая сям'я? І мне цікава было разам з героем разблытваць гэты клубок.

Дзякуючы гэтай "мемуарнай" частцы я і стаўлю чатыры зоркі, нягледзячы на псіхадэлічны фінал.
Jim Elkins
Aug 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: italian
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
Ana Vargas
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um livro diferente, não só pelas ilustrações (é designado, aliás, de romance ilustrado) mas também pelo tema de que trata. A memória ou a sua perda. O que somos ou quem somos sem a memória.
"E o senhor, como se chama?"
"Espere, tenho-o debaixo da língua."
Tudo começou assim.
É desta forma que começa o livro. Yambo, um alfarrabista de Milão recupera parte da memória depois de um acidente vascular cerebral. Recorda-se de tudo que lhe perguntam, mas não se lembra de quem é. Como lhe explica o médico
...more
Ioannis Savvas
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ο Τζιανμπατίστα Μποντόνι (χαϊδευτικά Γιάμπο) είναι ένας εξηντάχρονος έμπορος παλιών βιβλίων. Ύστερα από ένα εγκεφαλικό παθαίνει αμνησία και προσπαθεί να ξαναβρεί τη ζωή του μέσα από βιβλία, δίσκους και κόμικς. Το δεύτερο εγκεφαλικό τον ρίχνει σε κώμα. Μέσα στην ομίχλη του μυαλού του ξαναζεί τη ζωή του με έναν ανορθόδοξο τρόπο, προσπαθώντας να εκπληρώσει ένα όνειρο: να βρει τη χαμένη (και μοναδική) αγάπη του, τη Λίλα.

Η «Βασίλισσα Λοάνα» είναι το αριστούργημα του Έκο. Μια ελεγεία στη μετέωρη ανθρώ
...more
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Umberto Eco was 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 pe ...more
“When you are on the dancefloor, there is nothing to do but dance.” 102 likes
“You’ll come back
To me . . .
It’s written in the stars, you see,
you’ll come back.
You’ll come back,
it’s a fact
that I am strong because I do
believe in you.”
26 likes
More quotes…