After more than 10 years and two failed attempts, I finally finished Umberto Eco’s murder mystery The Name of the Rose.
Published in 1980, The Name of the Rose is the retelling of a Benedictine monk about a series of strange events that he and his master Brother William investigated while traveling through a Franciscan monastery in 1327. Adso, a novice Benedictine monk and narrator of the story recounts murders he and Bro. William encountered in the monastery and tries to make sense of the strange events. With the help of his Sherlock Holmes-like deductive ability, Bro. William adeptly solves the mystery of the murdered monk only to reveal a highly complicated plot that goes back hundreds of years before the bizarre incidents.
Although seemingly a murder mystery novel, it focuses less on the mystery and more on philosophical and religious discussions on poverty, the different types of love and heretics, and on whether or not Jesus ever laughed. The novel is also about books, ancient manuscripts, and a very mysterious and “enchanted” library.
The premise of the story is very interesting, but Adso’s narrative and the rather long philosophical discourse make this novel a chore to read. After the discussions on the reasons for and manner of the death of the monks, the ending was a bit disappointing and left me feeling cheated. Still, I consider my completion of this novel one of my very few bookish accomplishments.
The Name of the Rose (1980) – Umberto Eco
Personal rating: 3/5