Why is this the book of the day? Because I just stayed up all night writing an essay on it. Yes, I'm a college student, for the... zero... people who read this and don't know me.
"Rose" is both super-pretentious and, um, anti-pretentious at the same time. On one hand, it's done by a semiotician, for crying out loud. The text bleeds intentional double, triple, even quadruple, meanings. Word gymnastics abound, along with references to every famous person in the time. On the other hand, Eco, in an afterword, admits that he wrote the whole thing for silly reasons, makes fun of people who read too many things into the text (both in the afterword and in the subtext of the text itself - ironic!) as well as crappy questions people ask him about the book, and at one point says "That kind of nonsense belongs in term papers." It's like he knew I was going to read this!
Well, I wrote an essay, not a term paper. Anyway.
I've come down on the side of liking the book. The chapter subtitles were enough to win me over alone. They're the only thing in the novel that comes to you courtesy of a different narrator, one with a very dry sense of humor. (I wanted to tell the actual narrator to shut up several times throughout, but he comes out okay overall, unlike, say, that douchebag from "The Rachel Papers".) The subtitles, which merely explain what happens in the chapter to follow, get funnier as worse things happen. A hundred pages in, the following...
COMPLINE...gets a second look and a smirk. Another hundred in, and we get...
In which William and Adso enjoy the jolly hospitality of the abbot and the angry conversation of Jorge.
VESPERS...and I start to think, he's doing this on purpose, isn't he?
In which the abbot speaks again with the visitors, and William has some astounding ideas for deciphering the riddle of the labyrinth and succeeds in the most rational way. Then William and Adso eat cheese in batter.
The subtitles continue to get more flippant, until the climactic chapter reads thus:
NIGHTIn common parlance: I lol'ed.
In which, if it were to summarize the prodigious revelations of which it speaks, the title would have to be as long as the chapter itself, contrary to usage.
Oh, and the sort-of-main-character, William of Baskerville (get it? Baskerville?), is a transparent Holmesian figure, right down to the getting high bits. And that is always a plus in my book. That, and the medieval sexual issues, although I mostly appreciated those because so many writers of this time period leave all that out.