Archive for April, 2011

Book 830 Umberto Eco – Foucault’s Pendulum

April 26, 2011

What can one say when you have a novel that’s multi-layered and open to many interpretations? I thought The Name of the Rose was complex but Foucault’s Pendulum goes deeper.

On the surface it’s about a group of men who work in a vanity publishing house, which brings out books on various conspiracy theories that the world is obsessed with. After a while these men decide to create the ultimate prank – the mother of all conspiracy theories. One that starts of with the Templar Knights and gets more bizarre as the book progresses, the nadir being Hitler starting The Holocaust in order to extract information about The Templars from captured Jews.

As time passes this prank starts to affect the main characters badly and it leads to some disastrous and frightening results.

I saw this as a satire on how society becomes obsessed with the secret societies, for I have met people who constantly talk about these subjects and Eco captures the stereotypical conspiracy follower perfectly. In fact there’s a lot of gentle humour in this novel.

Yes I enjoyed it. I like a nice brainy novel that makes me feel more intelligent after reading it and Foucault’s Pendulum works on many levels.  Classic!

Book 831 Joost Zwagermann – Gimmick!

April 6, 2011

I haven’t been able to find a version which has been translated into English. It’s just a matter of ‘Watch this space for future developments’

 

Book 832 Bernardo Axtaga – Obabakoak

April 6, 2011

This challenge that I have taken up is full of firsts. In this case this is my first Basque author, unfortunately I wasn’t too crzy about this book though.

Obabakoak is both a short story collection and a novella combined, the short stories are at the beginning and then the last half consists of two novellas, one of deals with the art of short story writing. The fictional country of Obaba features.

The first two short stories are excellent – marvelous in fact, but from then onwards the rest of the novel ranges from good to OK.  I’m always at a loss with short stories because inconsistency tends to creep in no matter what.