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The Mysterious Flame Of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco
The protagonist of The Mysterious Flame Of Queen Loana is Giambattista Bodoni, although he's nicknamed Yambo after a cartoon character. Yambo is a 59-year old rare book dealer, and he's suffered a stroke that has removed all memories of himself, although he can remember every book he's read or movie he's seen. To rebuild his memory, he retires to the family home in northern Italy, which still has old newspapers, magazines, books, diaries, and records. By immersing himself in these items from his past, memories come back to him, allowing him to reconstruct his life, including the parts of his life he had put aside and forgotten. Umberto Eco's novel has received mostly positive reviews with the St. Petersburg Times saying, "In addition to telling an extraordinary story in a delightfully ornamented manner, Eco's novel is illustrated as well, with approximately 100 reproductions of prints and photographs, tucked in and around the narrative. These visual elements, assembled and arranged by the author himself, invite the reader to browse along with Yambo, to daydream and recall Flash Gordon, Pinocchio, Terry and the Pirates, Benito Mussolini, Cyrano de Bergerac, Josephine Baker, and, of course, Queen Loana. In a word, this novel is fun."