The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

My favourite books are the kind that turn me into a hodgepodgejellybrain for a while. The books that make me think, and don’t let me sleep till I finish reading and some time after.

This book is a classic example of the above.

I actually read this 10 days ago, so my post is a little late.

It’s written by Umberto Eco and the original book, in Italian, is called La Misteriosa Fiamma della Regina Loana. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

I fell in love with the protagonist, Yambo; womaniser or otherwise. Collector and seller of rare books, pacifist, avid reader and ex-poet. The “sterile genius” , in his own words.  What’s not to love?

Plus, he loses his memory and his only remaining memories are excerpts from the books he read. (Admit it, readers*, you all want that right now, just a little bit.)

I loved how the book developed, and Yambo developed with it, though the middle was a little slower than I would have liked. In all fairness, I imagine that the recovery of over 50 years of memories would take quite some time.

The end astonished and devastated me. It even scared me a little.  I still haven’t recovered completely. I still get goosebumps.

THAT, dear readers, is talent.

My favourite quote in the book. (Conversation with his wife, Paola)

“I have so many books. Sorry, we do.”

“Five thousand here. And there’s always some imbecile who comes over and says, my how many books you have, have you read them all?”

“And what do I say?”

“Usually you say: Not one, why else would I be keeping them here? Do you by chance keep the tins of meat after you’ve emptied them? As for the five thousand I’ve already read, I gave them to prisons and hospitals. And the imbecile reels.”

*Readers in this context means readers of books and not readers of this blog .Conditions apply.


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