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The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by…
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The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (original 2004; edition 2006)

by Umberto Eco, Geoffrey Brock (Translator)

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4,168761,203 (3.32)108
Member:twitham
Title:The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
Authors:Umberto Eco
Other authors:Geoffrey Brock (Translator)
Info:Mariner Books (2006), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:novel, fiction, Italian, books

Work details

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco (2004)

  1. 00
    History of Beauty by Umberto Eco (WiJiWiJi)
  2. 01
    The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (freddlerabbit)
  3. 01
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (Alixtii)
    Alixtii: Both books having writers getting meta about the nature of writing and reading as a protagonist goes through a process of reading very (and I mean very) many books. Both are written with wit and insight, although Eco's book is better.
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» See also 108 mentions

English (64)  French (5)  Italian (4)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All (1)  German (1)  All (77)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
I bought this book for 25 cents at the Tara Rotary Book Sale, which is a real bargain considering it's hard-cover and filled with beautiful colour reproductions of art, comics, photographs, and other ephemera. Much like [b:The Uncommon Reader|1096390|The Uncommon Reader|Alan Bennett|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1317064291s/1096390.jpg|1792422] which I read a few weeks ago, going through this book I was particularly excited to have Eco's recommendations for what to read next. Bennett's book was far more blithe, of course, whereas Eco has his trademark deep intertextuality at play, but for me the joy of making connections between art and literature and culture is there with both of them.

There are ways in which it drags. There were definitely times where I felt that I'd heard so many stories of growing up in Fascist Italy that it was hard to care for another personalized retelling in fiction. I constantly wondered why it was only his childhood literary history he was interested in recovering, seeing as any work connected deeply with his personal life as he grew to be an adult should surely also matter. I wondered why he didn't strive to recover more of that part of his history, and felt like the only reason it didn't get covered was because it was post-Fascism and that's what Eco wanted to write about. I suppose there's an extent to which childhood is the period of development, of intensity, and the cornerstone of our eventual Self. Perhaps Yambo did level out, cease developing at the pace of youth, but I dislike the presumed stasis of adulthood. We have our habits, perhaps, but I don't think our identities are any more permanent and fixed. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
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 somewhere in the hills between Milan and Turin. There, in the sprawling attic, he searches through boxes of old newspapers, comics, records, photo albums, and adolescent diaries.

This book explores what is memories. How do our memories shape us? How did Yambo grow and become the person he no longer remembers. ( )
  nx74defiant | Mar 12, 2017 |
This was my most dragged read ever. It was also beautiful in some parts but extremely depressing and miserable in a lot of pages. I was looking forward to dwelling in Eco's magic. I came away feeling a little disappointed. The Italian landscapes described by Eco's dazzling lyrical wordplay had me travelling dreamily for hours. I couldn't for any librarian's or a book lover's nightmare imagine to lose memory and then have to rewind and relearn all the details of the pre-memory loss life, once again from the wife, daughters, grandchildren. A terrible ordeal one would be put in. Yet this happens with a lot of people around the world who suffer from Alzheimer's and gradually lose their memory and threads of life. There were times when I couldn't stop from tearing my heart over the melancholy and sadness of the people inside the story. I kept linking them to all the strong people I know in my life. it just made reading more worse. Having said this, I would love to read Umberto Eco again. ( )
  Sharayu_Gangurde | Jan 19, 2017 |
Couldn't finish it - got too bogged down in Mussolini in papers in the house. ( )
  lisahistory | Jan 6, 2017 |
I was really, really looking forward to reading this. I devoured The Name of the Rose" and wanted to find more of Eco's writing.

The first portion where Yambo wakes up after his stroke and starts to put his life together was fascinating. What he used to do, what people expect him to do, what are his relationships with other characters, this all makes sense. And puts stroke recovery into some sort of perspective. And his love of literature! Wow!

Even the second part was interesting, where he returns to his family home in an effort to piece together his childhood and youth were well-written and informative, though without the zing of the first part.

Then came the part where he begins to put together his past via comic books and published articles he finds in a trunk in the attic . . . and I stopped caring. Totally stopped caring. It just seemed all so pointless, and his adventures with the inhabitants of the hill above stopped being the high point and pinnacle of this book.

I bought it from a used book store, recommended a friend not read it, and have returned it to a charity store." ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eco, Umbertoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brock, GeoffreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gerritsen, RobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlot, HennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
There is a wiki annotation page for this novel at: http://queenloana.wikispaces.com/
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156030438, Paperback)

The premise of Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, may strike some readers as laughably unpromising, and others as breathtakingly rich. A sixty-ish Milanese antiquarian bookseller nicknamed Yambo suffers a stroke and loses his memory of everything but the words he has read: poems, scenes from novels, miscellaneous quotations. His wife Paola fills in the bare essentials of his family history, but in order to trigger original memories, Yambo retreats alone to his ancestral home at Solara, a large country house with an improbably intact collection of family papers, books, gramophone records, and photographs. The house is a museum of Yambo's childhood, conventiently empty of people, except of course for one old family servant with a long memory--an apt metaphor for the mind. Yambo submerges himself in these artifacts, rereading almost everything he read as a school boy, blazing a meandering, sometimes misguided, often enchanting trail of words. Flares of recognition do come, like "mysterious flames," but these only signal that Yambo remembers something; they do not return that memory to him. It is like being handed a wrapped package, the contents of which he can only guess.

Within the limitations of Yambo's handicap and quest, Eco creates wondrous variety, wringing surprise and delight from such shamelessly hackneyed plot twists as the discovery of a hidden room. Illustrated with the cartoons, sheet music covers, and book jackets that Yambo uncovers in his search, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana can be read as a love letter to literature, a layered excavation of an Italian boyhood of the 1940s, and a sly meditation on human consciousness. Both playful and reverent, it stands with The Name of the Rose and The Island of the Day Before as among Eco's most successful novels. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:28 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Having suffered a complete loss of memory regarding every aspect of his own identity, rare book dealer Yambo withdraws to a family home nested between Milan and Turin, where he sorts through boxes of old records and experiences memories in the form of a graphic novel.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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