First published in Italy in Italian by Bompiani as Il nome della rosa in 1980. English language translation by William Weaver published in 1993.
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How I got this book:
Purchased second-hand from Livros da Ria Formosa in Lagos, Portugal.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey where extraordinary things are happening under the over of night. A spectacular popular and critical success, The Name of the Rose is not only a narrative of a murder investigation but an astonishing chronicle of the Middle Ages.
A brilliant book, certainly one of the most difficult I have ever read and not least because of how much GCSE Latin I have forgotten. The Name Of The Rose is billed as a murder mystery but is also so much more. The mystery plot is interesting but what kept me gripped is the amazing portrayal of medieval life with its insane yet deadly serious theological arguments. Dozens of different sects, all of which claim to be the true Christians, gain or lose power and prestige dependent on the current definition of religious truth. And woe betide any man finding himself on the 'wrong' side - torture and death await. Women, of course, are practically sub-human so are not even afforded the right to argue! This is a fantastic book that beautifully illuminates a bizarre world, one I am grateful I did not experience first hand.
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Books by Umberto Eco / Crime fiction / Books from Italy