Foucault's Pendulum is, I think, the book that turned me on to reading world literature when I read it early in 2004. I can remember picking it up because it looked quite interesting and then, once into it, I found myself taking weeks to get through it. Never before had I read anything so dense yet readable. Granted, a lot probably went over my head, but it has stuck with me and, because of it, I went on an Eco binge which didn't last long as, at the time, he only had four novels to his name.
If you don't know of this book - and where have you been? - then here's a quick summary:
Three Milanese intellectuals get a job in a vanity publisher (which deals with esoteric subjects) and can't help laughing at some of the crap that gets sent to them. One day a panicking guy comes to visit them with his manuscript to which we learn about the Knights' Templar and they laugh it off, send him packing. This, incidentally, is a small section of the book which pisses on the whole history in The Da Vinci Code, a book written almost 20 years later). The guy leaves but is soon found dead which leads our three intellectuals to wonder if, indeed, there is something in all this rubbish and they begin to create their own secret history of the world, developed from something found by the murdered bloke. And they create it and create it and you, as the reader, can't help but marvel at how they reconstruct the whole secret history of the world. There are, of course, others who would kill for this knowledge.I think, once the upcoming Booker is out of the way, I will reread it because I remember it as a real gem, but then I don't remember much now, other than some set pieces, the conclusion, and a section set in Brazil that I scraped and crawled through. As an introduction to Eco, I had no idea what hit me - the masochist in me liked it though.
Have many others read it? Do you prefer it to, say, The Name Of The Rose?