I was recently given this book as a birthday gift by someone who knows how much I admire Umberto Eco. Needless to say, this book rocketed to the top of my reading list.
I have to admit, that while there are some very interesting parts in the book, overall it was not one of my favorite works by Eco. The book is a follow-up to On Ugliness, which I found much more interesting. In The Infinity Of Lists, Eco examines the use of lists in literature as a way of expressing the infinite and the ineffable, and he makes some astute observations. My criticism about the book was the reprinting of some of these lists, many of which were painfully long and made even more tedious considering they were presented out of context from the original works. I kept wondering why he didn’t edit these lists and present only sections. I think this would have sufficed to make his point and would have allowed space for more scholarly examination of the various types of lists.
If you are a fan of Umberto Eco, then you will probably want to read this book and will find some literary gems buried in the lists. If you are not a big Eco fan or have not read any of his works, then I suspect that you will likely struggle through the early part of this book before finally giving up on it.