My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first book I've finished in '11, having begun Foucault's Pendulum over a month and a dozen books ago.
Why I picked it up:I've heard Eco's work being praised, and this particularly was referred to as "the Thinking person's Da Vinci Code". Upon reading the first few pages, I was sure they had done a disservice to Eco by referencing Dan Brown's flat plot.
Why I finished it: Partly the gorgeous language, pithy sentences, and the sense that life, the universe and everything(!) would be explained.
I struggled to read this book - I could only finish about 50-60 pages each time; there are tons of references and minutae around early Paris and the Templars, Rosicrucians etc. This makes the reading slow and hard to keep up with. I ended up feeling a bit like an iceberg: I could understand maybe 10% of what was said, the remaining 90% was obscured from my view!!
I'd still read another Eco - perhaps something more accessible.
I'd recommend this to: Folks who've read The Name of the Rose (purportedly easier), Literary Fiction readers, Conspiracy theorists!