“The Latest from Heaven”

Misteriosa fiamma della regina Loana

Bompiani, 2004, ISBN 8845214257; Hardcover, € 19.00. [Browse/Purchase]

The Gorge
The first chapter of Eco’s new novel is now online at the New Yorker.

Published in 2004 by Bompiani, the title of Eco’s fifth novel translates as The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana – An Illustrated Novel. The plot concerns Giambattista “Yambo” Bodoni, a man who loses his memory after an accident. In an attempt to deal with his amnesia, he travels to his childhood home, where he reconstructs his life through a collection of old newspapers, comic books, school papers, and record albums. He is also assisted by his grandfather’s diary. After a few days he is visited by another misfortune, and slips into a coma where he begins to have increasingly strange hallucinations. As the subtitle indicates, the work is heavily illustrated, with accompanying images reflecting Yambo’s collection of memorabilia.
The book is being translated into English by Geoffrey Brock, and will be published in the United States by Harcourt on June 3, 2005. Porta Ludovica will update this section as new information arrives. If you are an Italian speaker who has read the book, and would like to send in a review or commentary in English, please send an email. (Thanks to Andrea Gentileschi for his kind help.)

Bompiani – The publisher’s homepage contains information about Misteriosa, including the following synopsis:

Questo romanzo, benché illustrato a colori, è dominato dalla nebbia. Nella nebbia si risveglia Yambo, dopo un incidente che gli ha fatto perdere la memoria. Non la memoria che i neurologi chiamano ‘semantica’ (Yambo ricorda tutto di Giulio Cesare e sa recitare tutte le poesie che ha letto in vita sua), bensì la memoria ‘autobiografica’: non sa più il proprio nome, non riconosce la moglie e le figlie, non ricorda nulla dei genitori e della sua infanzia. Accompagnandolo nel lento ricupero di se stesso, la moglie lo convince a tornare nella casa di campagna dove ha conservato i libri e i giornalini letti da ragazzo, i quaderni di scuola, i dischi che ascoltava allora.
Così in un immenso solaio tra Langhe e Monferrato Yambo rivive la storia della propria generazione, tra Giovinezza e Pippo non lo sa, tra Mussolini, Salgari, Flash Gordon e i suoi temi scolastici di piccolo balilla. Si arresta di fronte a due vuoti ancora nebbiosi, le tracce di un’esperienza forse atroce vissuta negli anni della resistenza e l’immagine vaga di una ragazza amata a sedici anni e poi perduta.
Interviene un secondo incidente. Yambo è ora in coma, ma rivive a spirale, tra folate di nebbia intermittente, ogni momento degli anni tra infanzia e adolescenza, sino a quando, in una sorta di Apocalisse benevola, tra il trentatreesimo canto del Paradiso, Bing Crosby, don Bosco e le scale di Wanda Osiris, sta per avere la visione finale. Ma...


The Name of the Rose on DVD

The Name of the Rose
Warner Home Video / DVD / $19.98 (Discounted $13.99)

Years after the VHS version was deleted from the catalogue, Warner Home Video has brought back the 1986 film The Name of the Rose on DVD.

Headlines

Eco Opens Exhibit
“Beautiful Minds,” Florence, 16 Sep. 2004. Eco opens an exhibition on Nobel Laureates and creativity.

Green Bar

Google News Search – This will search news groups for any mention of Eco.

Google News Alert – This free service combs the Web for the appearance of any desired keyword or phrase, sending you a daily digest of links. Just enter “Umberto Eco” to be kept up-to-date on his name in the news.

Yahoo News Search – Search Yahoo for articles and news related to Eco.

SurfWax Eco – This page links to all news, articles, and reviews mentioning “Umberto Eco.”


–Allen B. Ruch
30 March 2005

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