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Baudolino by Umberto Eco

Baudolino (original 2000; edition 2002)

by Umberto Eco, William Weaver (Translator)

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5,69769747 (3.52)172
Authors:Umberto Eco
Other authors:William Weaver (Translator)
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2002), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 528 pages
Tags:Italy, Constantinople, adventure, ad, 12 in 12

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Baudolino by Umberto Eco (2000)


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English (54)  Spanish (4)  Italian (3)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
I read this on my way to London and my trip to London broke me, broke me in all the ways a man can be broken, yes, broken into a thousand little man-pieces that crunched underfoot when people walked on them, which people did even though they were me and I was saying this is me, please don't walk on m- crunch. So I really don't want to review it, even though I liked it a lot. It's one long shaggy dog story about the quest for the kingdom of Prester John and it's also about world-building and myth-making and story-telling and lies within lies within lies concealing each other and filling up the unknown spaces on the map and in the mind and in the past. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
This is a work of historic fiction, or so I thought. The character Baudolino is the adopted son of Frederick Barbarossa. He recounts his life to Niketas Choniates. Baudolino is a work of fiction, but the world he lives in is real. The first half of the book reads just like I expected. The story follows Baudolino's life and for the most part seems like there is no purpose of this book except being a fake biography. There are some wars and some family matters, but no real purpose. Then the 2nd half of the book starts and it gets weird, in a good way. Once Baudolino starts his journey it becomes way more exciting and I had to keep reading and reading. It breaks away from historical fiction and starts leaning towards fantasy. But all the interactions and discussions Baudolino has seems like an analogies to religion and civilization. Umberto Eco imparts his philosophy in a tactful and creative way. This is an excellent book! ( )
  renbedell | Nov 4, 2014 |
A picaresque tour across the Mediterranean and on to China. Our hero likes the Buddhists best, but he has to come home eventually. I think that Eco is better in Italian than English, and without the murder mystery, this book is a good deal less popular. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Aug 15, 2014 |
  roseatemetallic | Jul 29, 2014 |
Baudolino is an Italian peasant living in the 1200s who is both a gifted story teller and a compulsive liar. The book is told through Baudolino's retelling of the events of his life to a Byzantine court official who he saves during one of the Crusades. The trick to this book is figuring out what is true, what is false, and if it even matters. As a young man, Baudolino falls into favor with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa who sends him to Paris to study. Baudolino has a natural talent for learning languages. He meets several friends there and they become obsessed with the idea of the existence of Prester John, a mythical priest who supposedly rules in the East. Eventually, they contrive a way to go on a journey to find Prester John. They have many adventures along the way and this all becomes more and more fantastic.

This book is one of Eco's most readable novels because he manages to stay relatively on track with the plot instead of having multiple diversions in each chapter. There is still a lot of play with words and obscure historical references (many of which I'm sure I didn't get), but this book has a lot of life, humor, and a sense of fun.

My favorite line in this book is the last. Niketas, the byzantine official who listened to Baudolino's story with the intent of helping to write his biography, is talking to a wise man about how he can possibly write out Baudolino's story with any credibility. The wise man cautions him not to tell the story. When Niketas expresses his regret, the wise man says

You surely don't believe you're the only writer of stories in the world. Sooner or later, someone -- a greater liar than Baudolino -- will tell it. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
It's a mystery that begins well, and ends well, too, drenched in the scholastic logic and the intricate, entertaining literary gamesmanship that is Mr. Eco's territory. The problem is that while ''Baudolino'' contains plenty of learning and imagination, it is so strenuously fanciful that it becomes tedious, like a Thanksgiving Day parade that lasts all day.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eco, Umbertoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weaver, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Rattishbon Anno Domini mense decembri mclv Cronicle of Baudolino of the fammily of Aulario.
"Faith makes things become true."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156029065, Paperback)

The most playful of historical novelists, Umberto Eco has absorbed the real lesson of history: that there is no such thing as the absolute truth. In Baudolino, he hands his narrative to an Italian peasant who has managed, through good luck and a clever tongue, to become the adopted son of the Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, and a minister of his court in the closing years of the 12th century. Baudolino's other gift is for spontaneous but convincing lies, and so his unfolding tale--as recounted in 1204 to a nobleman of Constantinople, while the fires of the Fourth Crusade rage around them--exemplifies the Cretan Liar's Paradox: He can't be believed. Why not, then, make his story as outrageous as possible? In the course of his picaresque tale, Baudolino manages to touch on nearly every major theme, conflict, and boondoggle of the Middle Ages: the Crusades; the troubadours; the legend of the Holy Grail; the rise of the cathedral cities; the position of Jews; the market in relics; the local rivalries that made Italy so vulnerable to outside attack; and the perennial power struggles between the pope and the emperor. With the help of alcohol and a mysterious Moorish concoction called "green honey," Baudolino and his ragtag friends engage in typical scholastic debates of the period, trying to determine the dimensions of Solomon's Temple and the location of the Earthly Paradise. And when the Emperor needs support in his claims for saintly lineage, who but Baudolino can craft the perfect letter of homage from the legendary Prester John, Holy (and wholly fictitious) Christian King of the East? A giddy and exasperating romp, Baudolino will draw you into its labyrinthine inventions and half-truths, even if you know better. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:22 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"It is April, 1204, and Constantinople, the splendid capital of the Byzantine Empire, is being sacked and burned by the knights of the Fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, one Baudolino saves a Byzantine historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors, and proceeds to tell his own fantastical story. Born a simple peasant in northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts - a talent for learning foreign languages and skill in telling lies. One day, when still a boy, he met a foreign commander in the woods, charming him with his quick wit and lively mind. The commander - who proves to be the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa - adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of fearless, adventuring friends.""Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, this merry band sets out in search of Prester John, a legendary priest-king who was said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East - a phantasmagorical land of strange creatures with eyes on their shoulders and mouths on their stomachs, of eunuchs, unicorns, and lovely maidens."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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