Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Earlier this week Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol was released and was an instant best-seller. So it seems the perfect time to remember one of my favorite books, Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum.
This brilliant, exciting, and surprisingly funny novel is a piercing examination of conspiratorial thinking and thinkers. With sly wit and byzantine reasoning, Eco builds, dismantles, then rebuilds an ever-increasing series of sinister puzzle boxes. The sheer amount, depth, and pace of the esoterica, histories, and pseudo-histories is nearly overwhelming. Unless you are a polyglot and student of esoteric histories (and I'm not) you will miss some of Eco's references, but do not be deterred; keep reading and you will not be disappointed. Like a trio of over-educated European postgraduate students arguing metaphysics over too much wine, too late at night, this novels grows madder and madder until it reaches its crazy, subjective, inevitable conclusion. This is the perfect book to read before, after, or instead of the new Dan Brown novel .

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