I was going to make this my first video post, however it may be rambley, so I will save myself for something shorter. I base this on my other (other) obsession, trashing The Da Vinci Code and I don’t want to that….again.
Having said that, let’s get that out of the way first. Although it was published after Foucault’s Pendulum it adds nothing to the genre whatsoever, this book is superior in all ways. Not to mention the fact that it doesn’t attempt to make you believe the subject matter.
The main plot centres around three book editors who are getting jaded with all the crackpot manuscripts about secret societies, aliens and all the rest of it and decide to amuse themselves by picking random statements and feeding them into a computer to come up with the ultimate conspiracy. naturally the game becomes something much more sinister as time passes.
Whereas Dan Brown et al, want you to believe in the conspiracy and get bogged down in explaining the intricacies of it all, Eco doesn’t insult his reader, he creates a highly entertaining plot and his theories are a lot more varied and vibrant.
As you would expect there are more references than you can wave a stunned cobra at and nothing seems to silly to put in, Here’s a brief rundown of some of the varied references in the book just off the top of my head:
Tom and Jerry, Fantamos, Jean Valjean, Barbara Cartland, Jules Verne, Paracelsus, John Dee, the Druids, Francis Bacon, The Bogomils, Ultima Thule, Fu Manchu, Kurtz, Martin Luther, Afro-Brazilian religions, alchemy, numerology, Scottish people, key stones, the Rosicrucians, Mu, Star Wars, the list goes on and on.
There is a lot of esoterica mentioned and despite my enthusiasm for this book it wont be to everyone’s taste, I’m sure some people will prefer The DVC’s simpler style and quick read value, which are of course appealing but there is a sense of emptiness about the whole book when you actually sit and think about it, whereas with this book you really do get your moneys worth.
At 641 pages it will take quite a lot of time to read, it’s also relaxed in its pacing when setting up of the scene but after a slow build up, the fun really begins in the last half of the book and you realise that everything is relevant, patterns start to emerge and the question is: is this Eco’s doing or am I seeing patterns that – perhaps some of – the author didn’t intend?.
At the heart of the book is a look at the human desire to willingly interpret life to your tailor made views and beliefs and not be the detached, objective person that we all think we are. Eco shows how we view certain knowns and perhaps we should question them and look at them with detachment and proper scrutiny.
We all love conspiracy theories and what is masterfully concocted here is a Grand plan, an intertwining and mingling of such a vast array of references written in rich vocabulary which add depth and a fascinatingly skewed vision for a New World Order. Where madness and complacency collide to form a monstrous ‘truth’, a mystery that resonates through the ages,
It’s a playful take on history lampooning the gullibility of folk whilst at the same time creating a Masterplan that draws in the reader who knowingly accepts the deception, yet see the feasibility in what is being suggested. So once again wordy wordsmith Umberto Eco writes a fine book, it’s not my favourite of his works, which is probably Baudolino but it blows all other pseudo historical books out of the water. It really does quite literally have it all including a multiple languages for all you linguistic buffs out there.