Baudolino by Umberto Eco
One thing leads to another. So they say. Conveniently this coincides with the fact that reading, for moi, serves a single purpose. To learn. When I read something that is also entertaining, sometimes I’ll get out of my chair, off the can, up from the cot and jump for joy. After I finished Baudolino by Umberto Eco and after I caught my breath from so much jumping, my jaw dropped and I just stood there in awe. I was so enamored by the fact that I had just read something Fantastica,Meraviglioso, Ipnotizzante… and my eyes started to swell up at the thought of living this life and being able to experience something that I can only compare to magic.
Baudolino is my fourth novel by Eco. Before it I read Name of the Rose, then Faucault’s Pendulum, followed by The Island of the Day Before. And get this: I never finished Island of the Day Before. In fact, I had such a hard time getting into that book, I thought that I should put Eco down for a while and move on to reading Gore Vidal — which I did. So when I returned to Eco with Baudolino I was a bit skeptical. After a few hours I was a third through the book and at the same time, even though I wasn’t finished, I was strapping myself to the chair (or cot or can) so that I wouldn’t interrupt my reading by jumping up down.
Let’s be clear here. Tommi thinks that Umberto Eco is probably the greatest living novelist and in the future he will simply be one of the greatest writers that ever lived. Even though Island of the Day Before threw me for a loop, Baudolino is so good that every human being should be required to read it. It is both a fantasy and a history. It is also a chronicle of mystery and mythology. It is also a parchment detailing human discovery and invention. And don’t worry, that’s not all. As I said, reading serves only one purpose for me. After reading this book, the thing that made my jaw drop, is the fact that I feel as though my mind just went through the single greatest expansion ever in the hours it took me to get through 500+ pages. The effect this book had on me is so profound that even as I write this post my eyes fill once again at the thought of being born and being given, somehow, this life, and by chance to discover and consume such a piece of work/art. I am truly blessed and deeply indebted to Mr. Eco.