The Island of the Day Beforeby Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco, one of the greatest storytellers of all time, continues to enthrall readers with this exquisitely crafted novel that celebrates the romance, war, politics, philosophy, and science of the baroque period in all its lush and colorful detail. 513 pp.
PRAISE FOR THE ISLAND OF THE DAY BEFORE
"As wonderfully exotic as only Eco can contrive . . . An astonishing intellectual journey."--San Francisco Chronicle
"A masterpiece . . . intellectually stimulating and dramatically intriguing."--Chicago Tribune
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.68(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Meet the Author
UMBERTO ECO (1932–2016) was the author of numerous essay collections and seven novels, including The Name of the Rose,The Prague Cemetery, and Inventing the Enemy. He received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, was named a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government, and was an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
- Bologna, Italy
- Date of Birth:
- January 5, 1932
- Date of Death:
- February 19, 2016
- Place of Birth:
- Alessandria, Italy
- Ph.D., University of Turin, 1954
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is an amazing book! Obviously the guy who gave it one star has no clue what semiotics is. This is one of the books I would take with me if I would be cast away on an island for the rest of my life, and only allowed to take ten books with me.
For all Eco lovers out there, this is a must-read. I must say I did enjoy this book, however it took me a very looooooonnng time to read this book. I wasn't compelled to take it everywhere with me and read every second I could as I did with other works by Eco. This book jumps back and forth in the main character Roberto's time and reality. There were very interesting statements made in the book that made me think (I suppose that is Eco's philosophy/semiotics background). The idea of being a castaway upon a ship is intriguing in itself, however I kept asking myself, 'Why doesn't Roberto just sail away on the ship back to civilization?' This is definitely not a 'mindless' novel. If you didn't care for the movie 'Castaway' with Tom Hanks, you probably won't like this book. But if you love 'Castaway' (like I do) you will surely love this book.
Eco spins a marvelous tale that doesn't let up until the last page. This book will have you anxiously turning pages, and wanting more. Few authors have the ability to write this kind of complex prose. Yes this book is long and confusing at times, but the payoff is worth it. If you want a challenge with a wonderful reward, curl up with 'The Island of the Day Before.'
Roberto de la Griva is an Italian nobleman from the 17th century. After a leisure living experience in Paris, he is accused of treason by Cardinal Richelieu's advisors and sent on to travel the Amaryllis to the South Pacific to discover the means by which navigators can understand the mystery of the "longitude." He is supposed to spy on the Dutchmen and report back to Richelieu. After a violent storm, Roberto finds himself shipwrecked. Swept from the Amaryllis, he manages to pull himself aboard the Daphne-anchored in the bay of a beautiful island. The Daphne is fully provisioned but the crew is missing. As he resolves to write a diary we learned from his youth: Ferrante, his imaginary evil brother; the siege of Casale which cost him his father's death, and the lessons given him on fencing, blasphemy, and the writing of love letters. Soon he discovers that he is not alone on the Daphne-Father Caspar Casale, a Jesuit and scientist, is also obsessed with the problem of longitudes. Roberto and Caspar perform certain experiments-to no avail. The book is 503 pages and it basically deals with the mysteries of life and death: "I am not urging you to prepare for the next life, but to use well this, the only life that is given you, in order to face, when it does come, the only death you will ever experience. It is necessary to mediate early, and often, on the art of dying, to succeed later in doing it properly just once." (p. 132). Unfortunately the book is narrated by an unknown person, the point of view being universal and confusing. To quote the narrator: "We will remember, I hope-for Roberto has borrowed from the novelists of his century the habit of narrating so many stories at once that at a certain point it becomes difficult to pick up the thread." (p.423) And that is why I would stay away from this book. It is as boring as it is confusing.