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In 1643 a castaway comes upon an abandoned ship anchored off a desert island. As he explores the vessel’s mysterious cargo, he revisits the events of his tempestuous youth-and limns his era’s obsession with science and navigation. Translated by William Weaver. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
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Published in hardcover by Harcourt, 1994, 0-15-100151-0
Published in paperback by Penguin, 1996, 0140259198
"A profound and ingenious story artfully told . . . Renaissance battles, love poems, and sea journeys in the age of exploration." --The New York Times Book Review
Roberto della Griva is an Italian nobleman living in 1643. His mission is to travel the South Pacific and discover the means by which navigators can understand the mystery of longitude. After a violent storm, however, Roberto finds himself shipwrecked--on a ship. Swept from the Amaryllis, he has managed to pull himself aboard the Daphne, anchored in the bay of a beautiful island. The ship is fully provisioned, but the crew is missing.
As Roberto explores the different cabinets in the hold, he remembers chapters from his youth: Ferrante, his imaginary evil brother; the siege of Casale, that meaningless chess move in the Thirty Years' War in which he lost his father; and the lessons given him on fencing, blasphemy, and the writing of love letters. The Island of the Day Before is a fascinating, lyrical tale about a young dreamer's search for love and meaning.
"A masterpiece . . . intellectually stimulating and dramatically intriguing." --Chicago Tribune
"A story both thought provoking and surprisingly humorous." USA Today
"Umberto Eco . . . is the last of the great 20th century polymathic fabulists in the tradition of Joyce and Nabokov and Borges." The Wall Street Journal
UMBERTO ECO is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the bestselling author of numerous novels and collections of essays. He lives in Milan.
Translated from the Italian by William Weaver
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