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Baudolinoby Umberto Eco
Baudolino was just plain old fun. I love history and getting what amounts to a con man's eye-view of the Crusades was a blast.
Synopses & Reviews
"This is a truly marvelous novel by one of the world's finest writers."-THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
It is April 1204, and Constantinople is being sacked and burned
by,one Baudolino saves a historian and high court official from certain death and proceeds to tell his own magical story.
Born a simple peasant in Northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts-a
talent for learning languages and a skill in telling lies. When he charms Emperor Frederick Barbarossa with his wit, the commander adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of fearless, adventurous friends.
Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, this merry band sets out in search
of Prester John, a legendary priest-king said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East-a phantasmagorical land of strange creatures with eyes on their shoulders and mouths on their stomachs, of eunuchs, unicorns, and lovely maidens.
"War and peace, belief and skepticism, false dreams and true, the pleasures of storytelling and the mysteries of love: Eco handles these themes with an exhilarating blend of profundity and lightness. . . . This is a novel that keeps getting better." -The Christian Science Monitor
UMBERTO ECO is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the bestselling author of numerous novels and essays. He lives in Italy.
"It is a picaresque novel set in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries that pays its respects to medieval chronicle and to Woody Allen's Zelig." Ingrid D. Rowland, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
"[A]nother grand mythical epic....While this book lacks the suspense of The Name of the Rose, it is nevertheless a spirited story that might offer those previously daunted by his writing a more accessible entrée." Publishers Weekly
"[Eco] weaves with deeply colored threads a fantastical narrative....This is historical fiction at its best: smart, enrapturing, and authentic." Brad Hooper, Booklist (Starred Review)
"[E]rudite and intermittently sluggish....None of this is nearly as much fun as it sounds, particularly since action is kept to a minimum while Eco permits his characters to engage in lengthy philosophical conversations..." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] phenomenal puzzler....In this whimsical yet deadly earnest tale, Eco puts forth the question that perpetually beguiles him and with which he beguiles the rest of us: If a teller of tales tells us he's telling the truth, how can we know for sure what really happened?" The New Yorker
"The esoteric stuffing is often interesting, but when Baudolino leaves Europe for the purely imaginary Asia of Prester John in the last third of this latter-day romance, Eco's archival mania becomes tedious." Tom LeClair, Book Magazine
"If you have time to sink yourself deep into the text, this can be a delicious read, but there is less of the sparkling, diamond-cut investigation of ideas that can make Eco so much fun to read, and Baudolino's backing-and-forthing can get a bit tedious." Library Journal
The tale of an elephant named Solomon who travels through sixteenth century Europe, from Lisbon to Vienna.
A delightful, witty tale of friendship and adventure from prize-winning novelist José Saramago
In 1551, King João III of Portugal gave Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Solomon. In José Saramago's remarkable and imaginative retelling, Solomon and his keeper, Subhro, begin in dismal conditions, forgotten in a corner of the palace grounds. When it occurs to the king and queen that an elephant would be an appropriate wedding gift, everyone rushes to get them ready: Subhro is given two new suits of clothes and Solomon a long overdue scrub. Accompanied by the Archduke, his new wife, and the royal guard, these unlikely heroes traverse a continent riven by the Reformation and civil wars, witnessed along the way by scholars, historians, and wide-eyed ordinary people as they make their way through the storied cities of northern Italy; they brave the Alps and the terrifying Isarco and Brenner Passes; across the Mediterranean Sea and up the Inn River; and at last, toward their grand entry into the imperial city.
It is April 1204, and Constantinople, the splendid capital of the Byzantine Empire, is being sacked and burned by the knights of the Fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, one Baudolino saves a historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors and proceeds to tell his own fantastical story.
Born a simple peasant in northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts-a talent for learning languages and a skill in telling lies. When still a boy he meets a foreign commander in the woods, charming him with his quick wit and lively mind. The commander-who proves to be Emperor Frederick Barbarossa-adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of fearless, adventurous friends.
Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, this merry band sets out in search of Prester John, a legendary priest-king said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East-a phantasmagorical land of strange creatures with eyes on their shoulders and mouths on their stomachs, of eunuchs, unicorns, and lovely maidens.
With dazzling digressions, outrageous tricks, extraordinary feeling, and vicarious reflections on our postmodern age, this is Eco the storyteller at his brilliant best.
About the Author
Umberto Eco is the author of three bestselling novels: The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, and The Island of the Day Before. 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. A Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna, Eco lives in Italy.
William Weaver has translated Umberto Eco's three previous novels, earning great critical acclaim and several prominent awards, among them the PEN medal for translation. Among the other modern Italian writers he has translated are Alberto Moravia, Elsa Morante, Luigi Pirandello, and Italo Calvino. He teaches at Bard College.
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