Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
by Umberto Eco
Harcourt, 2005. 469 pages. Fiction

Yambo is a rare book dealer in Milan who has a stroke resulting in the loss of much of his memory. He can recall all the stories and comic books he's ever read, movies he's seen, and music he's heard; but he does not know his wife, his children, or anyone else, for that matter. Once he returns home his condition persists, despite various efforts to prompt recall. Eventually it is decided that he should return to the large country home in which he grew up to see if things there might be helpful in recovering his memories. There in the home of his childhood he pores over old books, magazines, comic books, newspapers, and even some diaries. He begins to re-construct his past but he still doesn't recall it.

Yambo has long been interested in the fog and has indeed amassed many quotes concerning the fog. Now he finds himself in a fog. As he pieces together his past, the fog comes to play an integral part in certain war-time events of his life. This is a sumptuous, tour-de-force novel concerned with human consciousness literally brimming with nostalgia. Entertaining and thought-provoking.


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