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In Balthasar s Odyssey the best of Umberto Eco meets the worst of Jorge Luis Borges The erudition towards medieval paraphernalia and the elaborate metaphors are certainly appealing while the narrative best reminds a Mexican telenovela In one word Borges would have a story where Maalouf has a novel Yet, can t say I didn t like it Bearing in mind futility I ran through the pages with much delight If Dan Brown is a fair comparison, then I definitely prefer a Lebanese Da Vinci Code over an In Balthasar s Odyssey the best of Umberto Eco meets the worst of Jorge Luis Borges The erudition towards medieval paraphernalia and the elaborate metaphors are certainly appealing while the narrative best reminds a Mexican telenovela In one word Borges would have a story where Maalouf has a novel Yet, can t say I didn t like it Bearing in mind futility I ran through the pages with much delight If Dan Brown is a fair comparison, then I definitely prefer a Lebanese Da Vinci Code over an American one The unexpected journey around the world in 1665 and 1666 of a reluctant traveler A very authentic representation of the universal journey of life through the personal journal of this Genoveze wanderer, always chasing what seems like a ghost, and eventually finding the strength to own his decisions and take control of his fate. 1666 Annus Horribilis, The Year of the Beast and absolutely a challenge to Balthasar.Love lost, love found, and lost once.London is on fire and an eccentric self proclaimed Messiah is opposing the Ottoman Sultan.Balthasar is in the center of it all, no matter where he travels on his quest to get back what was bequeathed to him, the infamous book that may or may not reveal the highest name of Allah, the 100th name A very well spun saga, loosely built on the esteemed Genoese Embriaco family 1666 Annus Horribilis, The Year of the Beast and absolutely a challenge to Balthasar.Love lost, love found, and lost once.London is on fire and an eccentric self proclaimed Messiah is opposing the Ottoman Sultan.Balthasar is in the center of it all, no matter where he travels on his quest to get back what was bequeathed to him, the infamous book that may or may not reveal the highest name of Allah, the 100th name A very well spun saga, loosely built on the esteemed Genoese Embriaco family s history.Did it happen It just might have happened if you take in the fiction with the facts alike and indulge into imagination, is not that far fetched A truly enjoyable read I read Balthazar s Oddysey while traveling to London to give a conference proceeding on surveillance and fiction and will forever associate the event with it I just couldn t put it down The book reminded me of Umberto Eco s Baudolino in a good and less heavy way and in no way diminishing its own uniqueness It was a delight to read about the frenzy which gripped the imagination of people in 1666 and their exalted state of mind, whether they be among the prophets of doom, doubters, anguish I read Balthazar s Oddysey while traveling to London to give a conference proceeding on surveillance and fiction and will forever associate the event with it I just couldn t put it down The book reminded me of Umberto Eco s Baudolino in a good and less heavy way and in no way diminishing its own uniqueness It was a delight to read about the frenzy which gripped the imagination of people in 1666 and their exalted state of mind, whether they be among the prophets of doom, doubters, anguished or hopeful.Although the book also notes all pains and concerns of the human mind including those of apersonal nature than theological debates or the perspective of an impending apocalypse such as failing relationships between family members, or a stubborn main character who does not want to accept the fact that his lover chose to go back to her husband , with all due seriousness, it has an inherent light heartedness and humor that make anyone love the storyteller The travel notes are very well written, in a way that not only reflects the world as it was but also how 17th century travelers from the Levant and the Mediterranean might see it A delightful read I read this book on my way from Lebanon to Turkey, and the trip was all theenhanced by the reading The narrator of this novel, a bookseller, takes a similar journey, but in the 17 century, when the terrain was all part of the Ottoman Empire, Written as diary entries, this book could be described as historical fiction, but it is also a peculiar submission to the canon of apocalyptic literature too Taking place in 1665, the characters that inhabit this book fear that that the world will en I read this book on my way from Lebanon to Turkey, and the trip was all theenhanced by the reading The narrator of this novel, a bookseller, takes a similar journey, but in the 17 century, when the terrain was all part of the Ottoman Empire, Written as diary entries, this book could be described as historical fiction, but it is also a peculiar submission to the canon of apocalyptic literature too Taking place in 1665, the characters that inhabit this book fear that that the world will end the next year Although the readers know the transition between 1665 into 1666 didn t end in Doomsday, they can observe the fanaticism associated with that anxiety It s a good yarn This is an example of how those glowing blurbs that marketing puts on books to get you to read them really does a disservice to the poor writer who suddenly has to live up to a nearly impossible standard This book, according to the glowing quotes on the jacket, did for the 17th century what The Name of the Rose did for the 14th Ouch Not true.I couldn t wait for this book to end, which is just ridiculous considering that Amin Maalouf set up a really fantastic setting for his story It s th This is an example of how those glowing blurbs that marketing puts on books to get you to read them really does a disservice to the poor writer who suddenly has to live up to a nearly impossible standard This book, according to the glowing quotes on the jacket, did for the 17th century what The Name of the Rose did for the 14th Ouch Not true.I couldn t wait for this book to end, which is just ridiculous considering that Amin Maalouf set up a really fantastic setting for his story It s the year of the impending Apocalypse 1666, which tweaks out numerology cranks in every variant of the Abrahamic religions , and the main character ends up on a trip from the Levant to Constantinople to Genoa and eventually up to London, just in time to get mired in the Great Fire He s after a book that may or may not contain the Hundredth name of God, which might be useful when all the nasties from Revelations start making the rounds.Somehow, the book manages to be tedious It s all the main character s journal entries, and I guess it s in character that the journals of a shopkeeper would be a bit pithy, especially one that is a member of a religious minority running a business in a region of the world that has never really been settled or civil Still, it s a particular device that I have a hard time with, where characters ruminate endlessly on what a minute turn of phrase meant, and who is mildly insulted and who isn t and how little points of etiquette must be observed It s what makes a lot of Victorian and Regency novels unreadable Jane Austen, I m looking at you, and it s disheartening to see one of the most respected Arabic novelists writing to day mired in this trap At least he doesn t pull a Melville and natter on and on for pages about what the water looks like when you re sailing from Constantinople to Smyrna.There are a few subplots, involving romance, deep friendships made with fellow travelers, and a random fake Messiah who complicates the already hysterical religious mood of the region, and every single one of these story lines just sort of dies out in the most unsatisfactory way Every single one of these subplots is set up as something interesting that could develop into something cool, and then it just kind of doesn t.About three quarters of the way through when it became clear that I had slogged through all this tedious build up for nothing, nothing whatsoever, I wanted to loose this book on the Metro so I would have an excuse to not finish it, but I m trying to gain an appreciation or at least, an understanding , of the literature coming out of the Middle East, and I paid full price for it, soNow to be fair, if you took an actual person s journal, this is pretty much what it would be like When you write down day to day things that you do and things that seem important, there s no narrative flow or story arcs At least, not polished ones So, ok, I suppose if you wanted to pretend that this was actually a guy s journal, fine, but it makes for terrible reading Novels are supposed to skip all the boring crap and have some sort of awareness of narrative flow.Anyway, I uppsed my rating to two stars because for whatever other faults, it s well researched I mean, there s not a LOT of stuff, but the few little things like mastis smuggling was pretty interesting.I m really sad, I have to say, that this author wasn tengaging I really, really want to find an author from the Levant and Middle East that I like I m just spoiled by reading the likes of Neal Stephenson and Umberto Eco Also, the other titles by Maalouf look amazing I have a copy of Leo Africanus, and I ll probably read it, just in case it s good One can hope The premise of the book was great The year 1666 and the portents are all bleak the end of the world is nigh There are some further signs with an eccentric Messiah challenging the power of Constantinople, London burning, plague and general ill feeling In the middle of all this depression, Balthasar goes looking for a book that supposedly holds the key of salvation the unknown 10oth name for God.Unfortunately, Balthasar was a rich, educated shallow coward who hoped his money would buy him l The premise of the book was great The year 1666 and the portents are all bleak the end of the world is nigh There are some further signs with an eccentric Messiah challenging the power of Constantinople, London burning, plague and general ill feeling In the middle of all this depression, Balthasar goes looking for a book that supposedly holds the key of salvation the unknown 10oth name for God.Unfortunately, Balthasar was a rich, educated shallow coward who hoped his money would buy him love, the book and further riches I wished his odyssey was instead a short trip to the local mall *DOWNLOAD EPUB ☠ Balthasar's Odyssey ⇜ There are ninety nine names for God in the Koran, is it possible that there is a secret one hundredth name In this tale of magic and mystery, of love and danger, Balthasar s ultimate quest is to find the secret that could save the worldBefore the dawn of the apocalyptic Year of the Beast in , Balthasar Embriaco, a Genoese Levantine merchant, sets out on an adventure that will take him across the breadth of the civilised world, from Constantinople, through the Mediterranean, to London shortly before the Great FireBalthasar s urgent quest is to track down a copy of one of the rarest and most coveted books ever printed, a volume called The Hundredth Name , its contents are thought to be of vital importance to the future of the world There are ninety nine names for God in the Koran, and merely to know this most secret hundredth name will, Balthasar believes, ensure his salvation I looked at the sky last night, and it seems to me that there really are fewer and fewer stars They re going out after the other, while on earth cities burn.The world began in paradise, and is going to end in hell.Why did I come to it so late My least favourite of Amin Maalouf s works.Focusing on symbolism of historic events was overdone on account of the plot It is a rich tenderloin stake ruined by over seasoning.The style was also fairy talish not to my liking, maybe appeals to young adults.