The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana: Book summary and reviews of The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

By Umberto Eco

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
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  • Published in USA  May 2005,
    480 pages.

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Book Summary

Yambo, a sixtyish rare-book dealer who lives in Milan, has suffered a loss of memory - he can remember the plot of every book he has ever read, every line of poetry, but he no longer knows his own name, doesn't recognize his wife or his daughters, and remembers nothing about his parents or his childhood. In an effort to retrieve his past, he withdraws to the family home somewhere in the hills between Milan and Turin. There, in the sprawling attic, he searches through boxes of old newspapers, comics, records, photo albums, and adolescent diaries. And so relives the story of his generation: Mussolini, Catholic education and guilt, Josephine Baker, Flash Gordon, Fred Astaire. His memories run wild, and the life racing before his eyes takes the form of a graphic novel. Yambo struggles through the frames to capture one simple, innocent image: that of his first love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

'This charming story's considerable self-indulgence is largely vitiated by dozens of wonderful period illustrations....A head-spinning tour through the corridors of history and popular culture, and one of this sly entertainer's liveliest yet.' - Kirkus.
'[An] engaging if somewhat bloodless novel of ideas...has a somewhat academic feel, but it's an absorbing exploration of how that most fundamental master-narrative, our memory, is pieced together from a bricolage of pop culture.' - Publishers Weekly.
'The novel's literal level almost sports the pacing of a thriller...and on a more metaphysical level, it addresses provocative and never outdated or irrelevant questions about the integrity of one's identity and the irresistible attempt to estimate, while still a part of the community of the living, one's lasting imprint on the global slate.' - Booklist Starred Review.

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Author Information

Umberto Eco Author Biography

Umberto Eco was born in the city of Alessandria in the Italian region of Piedmont,  right in the middle of the Genova, Milan, Turin triangle.His novels include The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of the Day Before and Baudolino. His collections of essays include Five Moral Pieces, Kant and the Platypus, Serendipities, Travels in Hyperreality, and How to Travel with a Salmon and other Essays. He has also written extensively on philosophy, including in the areas of semiotics, linguistics, aesthetics and morality.

In September 1962, Eco married Renate Ramge, a German art teacher with whom he has a son and a daughter. He divides his time between an apartment in Milan and a vacation house near Rimini.

Link to Umberto Eco's Website

Name Pronunciation
Umberto Eco: Um-bair-toe EK-oh (the um is like the ending of possum)

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