“conspiracy theories at their best. ”Branwell's Books wrote this review Wednesday, February 2, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Fuck yeah”Liah C wrote this review Sunday, January 9, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Umberto Eco is a renowned Italian novelist, critic and philosopher, born in 1932 in Alessandria, in the region of Piedmont. His first work of fiction, The Name of the Rose (1980), shot him to fame as one of the leading Italian authors; since then, all of his works have been translated into the English language, including his non-fictional books and critical essays. Eco is known to include a huge amount of religion, history and philosophy into his works of fiction.
Foucault’s Pendulum (1988) is Eco’s second novel. It is a pity that it has been overshadowed so much by The Name of the Rose (largely due to the celebrated film inspired by the latter), since it is much deeper and intricate than its predecessor. Then again, Pendulum is less a mystery thriller than Eco’s first novel, featuring fewer murders, and taking almost forever to set into a suspenceful motion. The reader, however, is so awed by the amounts of history, information and genius presented in Foucault’s Pendulum, it almost comes as a surprise that the book does turn out to be a mystery thriller in the end.
The story centres on three book editors in present day, working at a publishing house in Milan dealing with books on the mystic and the occult. Casaubon, the narrator, is busy writing a thesis on the Knights Templar when he meets Belbo and Diotavelli, and soon joins them at Garamond Press. While the three have fun at reading authors’ crackpot attempts at rewriting history, they are suddenly visited by a colonel who shows them evidence of a conspiracy theory involving the Templars. According to this colonel, after the last leader of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, was executed in 1314, the Templars went underground and for centuries planned and waited for their revenge. Even though the three editors know that the colonel’s story is fake, they start rewriting the history of the world as we know it into a clear and linear narrative based on the colonel’s theory, thinking they are creating nothing more than a game. They call their own conspiracy theory “The Plan”, part satire and part intellect. However, as they become more interested and absorbed into the Plan, the more their self-destruction becomes evident the further one reads into the book, all three of them ultimately arriving at their fateful end.
A lot of readers may find the novel difficult, boring, and even random at times. Eco not only gives us a clear background on the Templars, but also lengthy passages describing the new variation of history Casaubon and his friends have created, covering almost every event in history since the 14th century and involing almost everyone, from Templars, Rosicrucians, Jesuits, Freemasons and Gnostics to any major non-religious society there is. The point the novel ultimately makes, however, is the existence of man’s greed for knowledge, which not only applies to the editors, but also to a group of fanatics who, after hearing about the trio’s false conspiracy theory and believing it to be true, will stop at nothing, not even murder, to obtain the non-existent secret to the Templars’ revenge. ”
“Eco's level of complexity in this conspiracy theory genre book makes Dan Brown look like a complete amateur. That said, I didn't really care for the ending.”Joel M wrote this review Monday, January 3, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“10/10 rating. My accompanying comment written beside my rating for this book was: "Holy Shit Monkeys!" I loved and love this novel, Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I read this and felt that every word and every image, each bit intended for reader's consumption (and many of the emotional or human-nature bits which no mortal author can control or fully plan), formed sparks in me. Reading this gave me the adrenalined passion to write works of my own, as too few authors ever have. I take the ability to inspire me to write as the sign of writing of the highest caliber.
Interestingly and Unfortunately, I have not enjoyed any of Eco's other well-known novels to the extent of not being able to stomach more than the first few pages of each.”
“library”Care B wrote this review Wednesday, November 24, 2010. ( reply | view 3 replies | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Reading this book has been a different kind of experience indeed! The story progresses in a style of its own. Though we have a narrator and a protagonist, the story is projected from multiple angles. ”Pradipto wrote this review Wednesday, November 17, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“too long. more a thesis than a proper story.
“should be good!”Chris L wrote this review Tuesday, November 9, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Arguably the best book to come out of Italy since Emperor Caligula sent his cousin a copy of "Ye Olde Roman Jugse".
Eco manages what Brown tried (AND FAILED); writing an thrilling, deep grail novel with more intertextuality than you can shake a horse or Senator at.
His style is awesome, his protagonist credible and the first chapter so harrowing that it's a stimulus to read the rest of the book just to not have read through it for nothing.”