Eco’s Show in Toronto

Umberto Eco stoked interest in his new novel tonight at his appearance at the Harbourfront Centre. Throughout his reading from his new novel, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, his interview and the audience questions, he was charming, gracious and outright hilarious. The reading was 66% English and 33% Italian. The part read in Italian was from the latter half of the novel and was delivered at such a speed that only the fully-fluent could follow, but even they didn’t catch everything as Eco didn’t pause for laughter. During the question period, Eco admitted that the difference between reading or speaking in English verses Italian is the same as the difference between swimming and walking: the latter is just quicker and more effective that the former.

The interview had one frustration, the interviewer. David Gilmour’s questions often teetered towards antagonistic. He also felt the need to repeat some of Eco comments like a poor ESL teacher correcting a student. However, nothing could take away from Eco’s eloquence.

Before leaving the stage, Eco offered up the Italian copy of The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana from which he read. The only fair way to do give it away was to throw it into the audience. The reaction was like the bouquet toss at a wedding, complete with some shrieks.

Below are incredibly rough recordings of the event. Turn down the volume for the applause, but crank it up for Eco and co.

Umberto Eco’s reading from his novel (5.6 megs).
Umberto Eco’s interview by David Gilmour (7.8 megs).
Umberto Eco’s Q&A session (4 megs).

Leave a Comment

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>