Thursday, July 14, 2005

Currently Reading...

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, by Umberto Eco.
"The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, Eco's fifth novel, follows Giambattista “Yambo” Bodoni, a man who loses his memory after an accident. In an attempt to deal with his amnesia, he travels to his childhood home, where he reconstructs his life through a collection of old newspapers, comic books, school papers, record albums, and his grandfather’s diary. After a few days he is visited by another misfortune, and slips into a coma where he begins to have increasingly strange hallucinations. The work is heavily illustrated with accompanying images reflecting Yambo’s collection of memorabilia."
Not as strange as The Island of the Day Before, but as compelling, Queen Loana gives us an Italian perspective of the war era through pop culture of the time. I was particularly fascinated by the translated comics, like Flash Gordon or Mickey Mouse. Many of the pieces come from the author's collection, giving us an intimate peak at Eco's own history.

Yambo, the protagonist, is as hazy as the fog he is so fascinated with, and so are the other characters in the book, mere sketches as backdrop to time travel. This is especially evident during the coma section, where pop culture takes over as reality. Challenging, fascinating, bizarre. Pure Eco.

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