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How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays

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About the Author

UMBERTO ECO (1932-2016) was the author of numerous essay collections and seven novels, including The Name of the Rose, The Prague Cemetery, and Inventing the Enemy. He received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, was named a Chevalier de la L gion d'Honneur by the French government, and was an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


In this collection of parodies, satires and whimsical mini-essays written over the last 30 years, Italian novelist/critic Eco (The Name of the Rose) takes readers on a delightful romp through the absurdities of modern life. A curmudgeonly cosmospolite, he waxes irate at his pet peeves, which include American trains, taxi drivers in New York City and Paris, soccer fans and cellular phones. He mockingly deconstructs Western movies, art catalogues, library regulations and, with tongue in cheek, proffers advice on how to take intelligent vacations and how to become a Knight of Malta. Eco parodies science fiction in a tale of intergalactic sex and espionage, and spoofs detective fiction in an account of ``the perfect crime.'' Serious issues that emerge from the antics include how the mass media confuses reality and fiction, and how our ``consumer civilization'' turns adults into children whose endless needs require constant gratification. First serial to Esquire. (Oct.)

Written mostly between 1975 and 1991, these how-to miniessays (how to eat in flight, how to go through customs, how to deal with the taxi driver) are in the same vein as Misreadings (LJ 5/1/93). Generally, they are shorter, like monologs by a somewhat amusing and not too garrulous conversationalist. The persona presumes to be self-deprecating but is actually fatuous, pleased to be recognized on the street by television viewers and happily aware that readers will not have had all his opportunities for travel, fame, and affluence. On the whole, this persona is rather snide vis-à-vis officialdom, the service occupations, and the masses. The closest counterpart in U.S. journalism is Calvin Trilling, but this is a Trilling without any good nature or affection. As translator, Weaver has made some inspired word choices. For literary collections.-Marilyn Gaddis Rose, SUNY-Binghamton

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