05 March 2009

200 word review: 'The Name of The Rose' by Umberto Eco

Here are three words that inspire terror in me – Mediaeval Murder Mystery. I found mediaeval times the least interesting part of History at school, and I’m not a huge fan of violence and death either. So, when I was given this novel as a gift, I almost didn’t read it, but I gave it a go.

I can appreciate that this is probably a very worthy novel. According to the introduction, it’s a translation of a translation of a 14th century manuscript by Adso, who narrates the story of a series of murders in a monastery. It delves deeply into Church history and theology, and I’m sure someone who is interested in that would love it. Unfortunately, I'm not. I found the theological discussions dull and bewildering, I became frustrated by the amount of Latin in it (what’s wrong with footnotes to translate?) and I stopped caring who was killed or who was doing the killing because there were so many characters I lost track of who anyone was.

If ‘mediaeval murder mystery’ sounds like your cup of tea, who knows, you might love this. But if those words make you want to run for the hills, then don’t bother.

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