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The Island of Yesterday: What is up with Umberto Eco

We can start with his death. He's been dead since 2016, so I don't have to worry about sparing his feelings.


Do you like flashbacks? Because this is a story about coming to maturity, or at least philosophy, told with a series of flashbacks as the main character, Roberto, finds new things on an abandoned boat. He can't leave it, so he spends all his time thinking about the evil twin he invented in his childhood, his time fighting at Casale, and his time in the salons of Paris. And then he interrupts his time learning to swim to imagine what the evil twin (that he invented) is doing with his beloved (who he has exchanged two sentences with.) For whole chapters.

This is definitely not the Hero's Journey, unless you count jumping off a boat that you just lit on fire in the hopes of swimming around an island as 'returning home.' It's a stretch, to say the least.

It's not Freitag's graph either, I don't think, though I have never been able to figure out what that graph actually means.

Save the Cat isn't getting you anywhere, either. The thesis statement was all over the place. Maybe you can put the five-act structure on it, though the pinch point is a bit early and late.

Word Choice

Like Lovecraft, he loves big words and he cannot lie. He also wants to detail every single item before Roberto.

Breaking the Fourth Wall

This, I actually found interesting. The omniscient narrator is reporting on Roberto with some affection and filling in what Roberto is trying to describe without modern science. It's interesting- a lot of magical realism, in a way, but grounded with a modern person's point of view. The narrator gives his opinion on doves and Roberto, and then comments on the conceit of novels and immersion.

Do I recommend it? Maybe if you like flashbacks.


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