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The perfect gift for book lovers: a beautifully designed hardcover in which two of the world's great men have a delightfully rambling conversation about the future of the book in the digital era, and decide it is here to stay.

These days it is almost impossible to get away from discussions of whether the ‘book’ will survive the digital revolution. Blogs, tweets and newspaper articles appear daily on the subject, many of them repetitive, most of them admitting they don’t know what will happen. Amidst the twittering, the thoughts of Jean-Claude Carrière and Umberto Eco come as a breath of fresh air. There are few people better placed to discuss the past, present and future of the book. Both of them avid book collectors with a deep understanding of history, they have explored through their work, both written and visual, the many and varied ways in which ideas have been represented through the ages.

This beautifully produced book, an object of desire in itself, is the transcription of a long conversation between the two men in which they discuss a vast range of subjects, from what can be defined as the first book, to the idea of the library, the burning of books both accidental and deliberate, and what will happen to knowledge and memory when infinite amounts of information are available at the click of a mouse. En route there are delightful digressions into personal anecdote about everything from Eco’s first computer to the book Carrière is most sad to have sold.

Readers will close this book feeling that they have had the privilege of eavesdropping on an intimate discussion between two great minds. And while, as Carrière says, the one certain thing about the future is that it is unpredictable, it is clear from this conversation that, in some form or other, the book will survive. After all, as Eco says: like the spoon, once invented, it cannot be bettered.

Reviews

A storming book. The next best thing to sitting in Umberto Eco's living room after dinner; a dream collection of lucid and fascinating discussions.

Nick Harkaway

Hurrah for philosopher and novelist Umberto Eco and playwright and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, who have come together to praise the medium... Fans of Eco and Carrière will be charmed

Wayne Gooderham, Time Out

An entertainingly free-range dialogue about writing past, present and future

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

The dialogue between these two superbrains is freakishly compelling and covers everything from papyrus scrolls to E-readers... Never fails to be enlightening and engaging... Hooray for this brilliant book'

Dazed and Confused

Thought-provoking

Cambridge News

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099552451

    May 1, 2012

    Vintage

    352 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781446468203

    July 1, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Umberto Eco

Chronicles of a Liquid Society
The Name Of The Rose (Vintage Past)
Numero Zero
Inventing the Enemy
The Prague Cemetery
Turning Back The Clock
The Mysterious Flame Of Queen Loana
On Literature
Baudolino
Five Moral Pieces
How To Travel With A Salmon
Kant And The Platypus
Foucault's Pendulum
Island Of The Day Before
Faith In Fakes
The Name Of The Rose

Recommendations

Anything Is Possible
The LEGO® Batman Movie: Ultimate Sticker Collection
Blitzed
The Pigeon Tunnel
Autumn
Of All That Ends
Writing Home
The Bottom Corner
A Smell of Burning
Trials
The Swordfish and the Star
Rosetta
That's Not English
Leaving Before the Rains Come
Building
Our Word Is Our Weapon
Do You Mr Jones?
Reading Myself And Others
Bodies In Motion and At Rest
Gift from the Sea