Friday, March 06, 2009

Read the book... then see the movie: The Name of the Rose

This week’s selection is The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon – all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

Kirkus Reviews describes the book this way: “Fueled by bookish ingenuity instead of flesh-and-blood vitality, this brilliant Borgesian-Nabokovian historical--part pageant, part whodunit--shines with a distinctly dry light: Eco is a professor of semiotics at Bologna University with a versatile style (admirably handled by translator Weaver) and an awesome knowledge of the Middle Ages.” This is not your average murder mystery!

The movie stars Sean Connery as Brother William, F. Murray Abraham, and Christian Slater in one of his first movie appearances. With a cast like that, and the lugubrious atmosphere of a 14th century monastery, this movie is bound to entertain.


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