The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco

Title: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
Author: Umberto Eco
Narrator: George Guidall
Genre: fiction
ISBN: 978141934896
Length: 15 hours
Published: 2004 (in Italian)
Source: public library
Rating: 2/5
Resolutions/Challenges: Further Exploration (sub-) Resolution

Reason for Reading: I was browsing the audiobook section at my library looking for something to listen to and came across this. It sounded interesting enough. Also, I’d never before read any works by Umberto Eco and I wanted to try him.

Summary (from Goodreads):

After a heart attack, Giambattista “Yambo” Bodini, an aging rare book dealer, awakens in a Milan hospital suffering from retrograde amnesia. He no longer knows his own name; can’t recognize his once-beloved wife or daughters; and can’t retrieve anything about his childhood or his career. His cardiac event has robbed him of all personal memories, but in a strange reprieve, Yambo retains total recall of every book, magazine, comic strip, movie, and song that he has ever experienced. Returning to the country home where he spent his childhood, he rummages through its paper clutter, searching for some trace of himself.

My Thoughts: My regards towards this book aren’t very high. Perhaps it may have something to do with the audiobook version. While I liked the narrator and that sort of stuff, I think it might have been a bad story to listen to when I could so easily become distracted from it (I listen to audiobooks when I drive to/from work). There were times when it just seemed like the story jumped around, from one point in Yambo’s past to another that it confused me.

The only reason I didn’t give this a rating of 1/5 is because parts of Yambo’s past I found very interesting. Such as living through WWII. I’ve never read about WWII from an Italian point of view. I think, however, if I’d have had another audiobook to listen to, I wouldn’t have even finished this one.

One thing that really upset me, was the fact that the summary I’d read that intrigued me, wasn’t fulfilled by the story. (By the way, that summary isn’t the same as the one I posted above.) There was something in that summary making Lila Saba sound like a very important element in the story–she was a past infatuation of Yambo’s. But, alas! She hardly had anything to do with the story. I guess I get upset when the book is a lot different than I thought it would be–which really isn’t the fault of the author, but whoever wrote the summary.

My Thoughts on the Audiobook Format: I really enjoyed listening to the deep soothing voice of George Guidall. He really made me imagine an elderly Italian man, almost like a grandpa. And that was the voice he was supposed to have, I think.

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