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Foucault's Pendulum

Umberto Eco

I didn't really know what to expect with Eco. While I find the topic of esoterica and secret societies fascinating, often the result is puerile this novel itself acknowledges. Also, my concern was with Eco's notoriety as a preeminent postmodern novelist...what with postmodernism being a bugaboo of mine. What I learned from reading this novel however, is that like it or not, to some extent, we're all postmodernists now.

This is the long (the setup to the story is the first 500 pages) story of three men who work at a Milan publishing house who conspire to weave together all of western esoterica and secret societies into one total narrative...really as a hoax to be gobbled up by those with itching ears...and proclivities. What our three protagonists learn at the conclusion is that life imitating art is a metaphysically profound understatement. As far as I'm concerned, the mere 5 pages of chapter 110 hold a powerful key to the entire narrative as well as much understanding..."so we attempted to do what was not allowed us, what we were not prepared for. Manipulating the words of the Book, we attempted to construct a golem," but it wouldn't make the sense that it does out of the context of the 640 some odd pages, so jump in if you want, but also know that the dénouement has all of the dreariness of a resigned existentialism.

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