Davin's Reviews > The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco
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's review
Mar 07, 2007

liked it
Recommended for: eco fans, cultural studies students with an interest in fascist era Italy
Read in May, 2007

Starts off really well with an interesting premise - an antiquarian bookseller loses his personal memory but retains the memory of what he has read. The first section which deals with his initial recovery is quite good with all the referential/personal identity fun you would expect from an amnesia tale written by a semiotician.

Then the second section begins, with the main character visiting his childhood home, trying to recreate his past through the artifacts there of 30s and 40s Italy. Fascinating in its detail and cultural studies-style meditations on various ways this stuff might have constructed his identity (and therefore that of other people his age) and reflected the national character of the times. However, as literature it was a bit lacking and dragged for me. The final section picks up a bit but the book never quite fulfills the promise of the first.


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