4.0 out of 5 stars
Unique, Dec 18 2002
This book is very unique. It is my first Eco book, but I know that I will read others. Eco is an amazing author, with encyclopedic knowledge and a ready wit. Throughout the book, there are many memorable passages and one-liners.
The plot is sufficiently engaging to make it hard to put down. One of the most interesting aspects of this work are the tangents that provide interesting insight into the political, social, philosophical, and scientific/alchemical mindset of that era, as well as a few interesting historical narratives included along the way. The extensive use of a very broad vocabulary (which I can only assume is the translator's excellent version of an equally astounding vocabulary in Italian) and phrases in several other languages throughout the work challenged and fascinated me, aspiring etymologist and polyglot that I am.
My only disappointment was the breakdown of meaningful thought within the dreams of Roberto at the end (otherwise it would certainly be 5 stars), though the afterword was refreshingly clever.
Overall, this book is certainly worth reading. Highly recommended.