The Island of the Day Before
book — Italy — 1995

As a fan of Eco it was my duty to read the only one of his novels (except for the latest one) that is not translated into my mother language. First I prepared to take on it in Russian since I already had read "Baudolino" in that language. But when I found out that the English version cost about the same as the Russian I decided to push myself to the limit and read this book in a language that I`m not particulary comfortable with. Only when the book was already in my hands a vague anxiety creeped into my mind whether I would be able to read Eco in English. Mr Eco`s books aren`t usually characterised by an extremely simple language and the intellectual baggage provided in each of his novels couldn`t fit in a nutshell. Therefore one really needs to be quite brave (and stupid as a matter of fact) to try to get through one of his works in a foreign language. Yet I am not a chicken, I`m a donkey and that means that I`m stubborn. So I took a grip of myself and started reading. And you know what? You wouldn`t believe me but it wasn`t that difficult at all. Ok, there are passages in Latin in this book but they still would be in Latin head I read them in Latvian. There is a character who speaks in a mixture of different languages which seems to be something between English and German in this translation but it probably would have been much weirder in Latvian-German.
I have surely told enough about background already, let`s switch to the book itself. Roberto la Grieva is an Italian man in his twenties living in the 17th century who has suffered a shipwreck somewhere in the Atlantic ocean and by accident has managed to get on to an abandoned ship that`s positioned just a few miles from a paradise island yet he can`t reach the island for he cannot swim. On the ship he writes notes about his life before the shipwreck which are made in form of letters to his beloved lady. Still the novel is written as a historians interpretation of what Roberto has written. At one point Roberto comes to the conclusion that he isn`t alone on his ship and meets a monk who was the leader of the expedition that the ship was taking and learns to know that they were stranded near an island where yesterday was still today. Still the book is less about what Roberto was going to do to free himself but more about debates over the creation of the world, over the existence of different worlds and different apples which Adam has eaten etc.
After the first circa 50 pages I was absolutely sure this was the least interesting of Eco`s works. Later on it got much more intense and now I say - this novel is better than "The name of the rose". Still, considering that the latter is the least interesting of Eco`s novels IMHO that means that some of his works are better than this one. Not a dissapointment by any means but it certainly could have been better (altough it may be the only case when I complain about something rated as high as 8.5).
Update: after a reconsideration I`ve upgraded the rating to a nine, I must have been in a very bad mood when I complained about anything Eco has written.
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