Umberto Eco

I shrink into one remote corner of my mind, to draw from it a story

Eco: Books on Tape
All four of Eco's novels -- the William Weaver English translations, at least -- are available on cassette in several forms. The two most popular are the unabridged "Books on Tape" versions, and the abridged "Audio Renaissance" versions.

The Name of the Rose (Books on Tape)

Read by Alexander Adams
Books on Tape, Catalog #3916
Unabridged; Fourteen 90-minute cassettes; Rental Price $17.95; Purchase Price $56.00.
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If anyone would like to contribute a review, please email Porta Ludovica.

The Name of the Rose (Audio Renaissance)

Read by Theodore Bikel
Audio Renaissance Tapes, ISBN 1-55927-361-5
Abridged: 6 hours on 4 cassettes, $24.95
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If anyone would like to contribute a review, please email Porta Ludovica.

The Name of the Rose (Unknown)

Read by Michael Pennington
Abridged by Michael Fry; 6 hours on 4 cassettes.

Patient Reader Tero Valkonen has this to say:

The story is quite heavily abridged, as was to be expected, and is made to fit into approximately six hours. But, fortunately, those six hours will be very enjoyable for anyone who wants to sit down and listen. Michael Pennington is a charming reader and has admirable versatility: he gives each character a different, idiosyncratic voice. I especially like his presentation of Jorge; the voice is full of the devious piety and humble cruelty that is Jorge. Any abridgment of a book is necessarily a compromise, and although it seems to me that this version is more politically correct than the original (many of the parts that were omitted were of "racy" nature - although Adso's carnivalistic vision is presented in most of its detail), I think the producers have done a very good job. But I wonder: six hours is a long time, and wouldn't anyone willing to listen through that be also willing to listen through the whole of the story?

Review written by Tero Valkonen, Curator of the Library of Babel poetry page.

Foucault's Pendulum (Books on Tape)
Parts I and II

Read by Alexander Adams
Books on Tape, Catalog #4469-A and 4469-B
Unabridged;
Out-of-Print.

If anyone would like to contribute a review, please email Porta Ludovica.

Foucault's Pendulum (Audio Renaissance)

Read by Tim Curry
Audio Renaissance Tapes, ISBN 1-55927-359-3
Abridged: 6 hours on 4 cassettes, $24.95
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Here is the blurb on Tim Curry found on the case:

Tim Curry is a high renowned and versatile performer. He starred as Dr. Frank N. Furter in the stage and screen versions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and has appeared in dozens of other London and Broadway productions, including Amadeus, for which he received a Tony nomination for Best Actor. Among his many film credits are Congo, The Hunt for Red October, Home Alone II, The Shadow, and The Three Musketeers. He has starred in many TV series and specials, and was nominated for an Emmy for an episode of Tales from the Crypt. Born in England, Mr. Curry now lives in Los Angeles.


Island of the Day Before (Books on Tape)

Read by Alexander Adams
Books on Tape, Catalog #3879
Unabridged;
Out-of-Print.

If anyone would like to contribute a review, please email Porta Ludovica.

The Island of the Day Before (Audio Renaissance)

Read by Tim Curry
Audio Renaissance Tapes, ISBN 1-55927-360-7
Abridged: 6 hours on 4 cassettes, $24.95
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Tim Curry was a wonderful choice to bring this novel life over audio tape. His voice -- admittedly one of my favorites -- does great justice to both the narrative and the characterizations. It is in turn sensuous, ironic, serious, mocking, and incredulous as needed; and the subtle touches and accents he brings to the various characters seemed to suit them quite well -- particularly Saint Savin, where more than a faint trace of his famous "Rocky Horror" lilt can be heard in the delivery of the Parisian aesthete's pointed epigrams.
The only problem I had with the adaptation is with the abridgement. I realize that a work the size of an Eco novel cannot reasonably be expected to go uncut for its transformation to a taped version, but I feel that the editors left out a few of the more pointed commentary, and I was disappointed to hear some of my favorite lines and bits of dialogue were absent. (For instance, the entire discourse on world system held between Roberto and Father Caspar is completely omitted.) I would have personally preferred if they would have edited out more of the narrative in favor of retain more of the dialogue.

Baudolino

Read by George Guidal
Recorded Books, ISBN 1402528140
Unabridged: 11 cassettes, $34.99
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If anyone would like to contribute a review, please email Porta Ludovica.


--Allen B. Ruch
12 October 2003

That one is a heron, he said to himself, that a crane, a quail. -- Send email to the Great Quail -- comments, suggestions, corrections, criticisms, submissions . . . all are welcome!