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Engrossed in Eco

Whether it’s due to sophistication or sheer snobbery, being engaged — really ENGAGED — by foucaults.jpga book, is a rarity for me. Many are the Best-sellers I’ve started and later abandoned out of boredom or contempt. The last work of fiction that really gripped me was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. You know a book’s good when you’re sneaking in reads wherever, and mulling the storyline at the most unexpected hours. Well, I’ve happened upon another book like that.

Granted, I’m only a third of the way through Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, but it has captured my imagination. Yeah, the book is almost twenty years old, and quite long (600-ish pages). But I’ve found myself noodling over the storyline and plotting ways to sneak peaks at every interval.

The tale is a sprawling menagerie of physics, history, religion and secret societies; a grand conspiracy that intermingles the Knights Templar, the Illuminati and the Holy Grail. There is more arcane knowledge here than in Hogwarts Library. The story revolves around three friends that work for a publishing firm in Milan who, after reviewing numerous occult conspiracies, decide to create their own. It is told by Casaubom, mostly as he hides for fear of his life in a Parisian technical museum reflecting on the Plan that has gone horribly awry. I think it was Bertrand who referred to The DaVinci Code as a poor man’s Foucault’s Pendulum. Either way, I’m loving it. And what makes it even better is that I bought a copy of the used paperback at Amazon for $0.01.

Anyone out there read Eco, and does FP end as good as it has begun?

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More: A fascinating column on Eco entitled, I Invented Dan Brown. Hmm. I guess Bertrand was right.


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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Linda Gilmore May 28, 2008, 12:51 PM

    This is one of the books I’ve been debating about reading. I read The Name of Rose years ago (Eco’s first well-known novel — it may have been his first novel, period, but I don’t remember) and it was good, so I may give this one a try. It was a captivating story, too, with some meat to it. I’m looking for some good summer reading.

  • Xdpaul May 29, 2008, 6:58 PM

    I haven’t read Foucault’s Pendulum for fifteen years now, and it still charms the socks off of me. I read FP, Invisible Man, and Borges Ficciones all in a row that autumn.

    I went crazy in such a good way that I don’t think I’ve recovered yet.

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