9780156030434

Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780156030434

  • ISBN10:

    0156030438

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2006-06-05
  • Publisher: Mariner Books
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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 Yambo 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. A fascinating, abundant new novel-wide-ranging, nostalgic, funny, full of heart-from the incomparable Eco.

Author Biography

Umberto Eco is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the bestselling author of numerous novels and essays. He lives in Milan.

Table of Contents

PART ONE: THE INCIDENT
The Cruelest Month
3(25)
The Murmur of Mulberry Leaves
28(17)
Someone May Pluck Your Flower
45(19)
Alone through City Streets I Go
64(17)
PART TWO: PAPER MEMORY
Clarabelle's Treasure
81(9)
Il Nuovissimo Melzi
90(27)
Eight Days in an Attic
117(42)
When the Radio
159(19)
But Pippo Doesn't Know
178(34)
The Alchemist's Tower
212(15)
Up There at Capocabana
227(30)
Blue Skies Are on the Way
257(15)
The Pallid Little Maiden
272(23)
The Hotel of the Three Roses
295(6)
PART THREE: OI NOΣTOI
You're Back at Last, Friend Mist!
301(24)
The Wind Is Whistling
325(54)
The Provident Young Man
379(27)
Lovely Thou Art as the Sun
406

Excerpts

1. The Cruelest Month"And what's your name?""Wait, it's on the tip of my tongue."That is how it all began.I felt as if I had awoke from a long sleep, and yet I was still suspended in a milky gray. Or else I was not awake, but dreaming. It was a strange dream, void of images, crowded with sounds. As if I could not see, but could hear voices that were telling me what I should have been seeing. And they were telling me that I could not see anything yet, only a haziness along the canals where the landscape dissolved. Bruges, I said to myself, I was in Bruges. Had I ever been to Bruges the Dead? Where fog hovers between the towers like incense dreaming? A gray city, sad as a tombstone with chrysanthemums, where mist hangs over the faades like tapestries...My soul was wiping the streetcar windows so it could drown in the moving fog of the headlamps. Fog, my uncontaminated sister...A thick, opaque fog, which enveloped the noises and called up shapeless phantoms...Finally I came to a vast chasm and could see a colossal figure, wrapped in a shroud, its face the immaculate whiteness of snow. My name is Arthur Gordon Pym.I was chewing fog. Phantoms were passing, brushing me, melting. Distant bulbs glimmered like will-o'-the-wisps in a graveyard...Someone is walking by my side, noiselessly, as if in bare feet, walking without heels, without shoes, without sandals. A patch of fog grazes my cheek, a band of drunks is shouting down there, down by the ferry. The ferry? It is not me talking, it is the voices.The fog comes on little cat feet...There was a fog that seemed to have taken the world away.Yet every so often it was as if I had opened my eyes and were seeing flashes. I could hear voices: "Strictly speaking, Signora, it isn't a coma....No, don't think about flat encephalograms, for heaven's sake....There's reactivity...."Someone was aiming a light into my eyes, but after the light it was dark again. I could feel the puncture of a needle, somewhere. "You see, there's withdrawal..."Maigret plunges into a fog so dense that he can't even see where he's stepping....The fog teems with human shapes, swarms with an intense, mysterious life. Maigret? Elementary, my dear Watson, there are ten little Indians, and the hound of the Baskervilles vanishes into the fog.The gray vapor was gradually losing its grayness of tint, the heat of the water was extreme, and its milky hue was more evident than ever...And now we rushed into the embraces of the cataract, where a chasm threw itself open to receive us.I heard people talking around me, wanted to shout to let them know I was there. There was a continuous drone, as though I were being devoured by celibate machines with whetted teeth. I was in the penal colony. I felt a weight on my head, as if they had slipped the iron mask onto my face. I thought I saw sky blue lights."There's asymmetry of the pupillary diameters."I had fragments of thoughts, clearly I was waking up, but I could not move. If

Excerpted from The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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