Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco, William Weaver The best and the worst thing I can say about this novel is that it's a difficult read. Sure, the author is Italian, but that doesn't automatically make it difficult, only a a novel that I've read out of it's normal language. No, the novel isn't even difficult in the traditional sense, where the sentence structure is hard to follow and there might be four hundred commas per dozen pages. The writing is quite nice. No, the novel is difficult because it requires the reader to read and understand a whole substructure of literature that can be loosely classified as occult, or at least marginally so, otherwise a grand majority of the in-jokes and satire would be lost on the reader. Mr. Eco is fantastically well-informed and has done an amazing job at his research, and despite the fact that the novel IS tongue-in-cheek, it's hard not to get the impression that our author is a seeker of knowledge. This will also be true for anyone who gets into this book. We seek, we want knowledge, we want wisdom. I include myself in this grand voyage because I, too, was sucked into the world presented; and I, too, needed to know, to understand, to make the connections.

For my young self, I read this novel as a pure soul, and like Diotevelli, I got corrupted. I had never realized that an occult world like this had existed. The second time I read this novel, I had read at least a dozen books either related or referenced in this novel, and by then I understood a greater majority of the in-jokes, and more importantly, I understood the book's message to stay grounded at all times, or you might fly away in the world of conspiracies or get lost in the labyrinths of the diabolicals. So whether you're a Jungian seeker, a literary delver, a philosopher, or an occultist, I can guarantee a wild ride in this novel, perhaps one the best ever written.

The actual plot is not that important, so don't read this novel expecting a novel like Dan Brown writes, 15 years after Eco wrote this. Like all of the best books, you get out of it what you put into it, and I admit freely that I put a lot of time and energy into this one, spending years attempting to decipher the full stories within stories within stories, periodically shocking myself from the dream to ground myself before delving into the abyss once again. Is the actual action of the novel that great? No, not at all, but the underlying threads more than make up for it.

This is one of my favorite books because it make me work for it; it made me think and research and delve so that I would be properly armed for the second read. And now that I've had my third read, I'm satisfied and amazed. I am still missing half the book in my researches. Perhaps in another decade, when I read this again I'll have the perfected Mileau in my mind. Then again, probably not. That's the problem with this subject... the depths are greater than any other field of study, and the most occluded.

You, dear reader, can't see it on me, but I've got a satisfied smile on my face and I'm sighing every few seconds in reflection of the read.