My review of Confessions of a Young Novelist by Umberto Eco ran today at PopMatters.
I’m a huge fan of Eco’s novels, and I’d be inclined to name him as, perhaps, my favorite author. I appreciate his ability to weave high-minded, thoughtful ideas in with compelling narratives without coming off as (too) pretentious. The Name of the Rose and Baudolino are exquisite, and despite a disappointing ending, Foucault’s Pendulum is still provocative and illuminating. Confessions is a window into the author’s process, and he provides concrete examples from his works that fans will enjoy. Eco explains how he got into fiction after a long career in academia, how he formulates his novels, and how fiction to affect us as strongly as reality. The last chapter, which follows the same theme as his non-fiction The Infinity of Lists is a little tedious, but the book is a short, highly-readable exploration into one of literature’s most impressive minds.