cover image How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays

How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays

Umberto Eco. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $18.95 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-15-100136-1

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.)