Crossposted from Haaretz
Though the Jerusalem International Book Fair continues through tomorrow morning, it’s possible that last night marked the festival’s climax, as two literary titans — A.B. Yehoshua and Umberto Eco — met and put on a performance for an enthusiastic, overflowing crowd. Even 20 minutes before the event’s scheduled start, fans were being turned away, and the air had that electrified sense of anticipation that precedes historical events.
History was certainly something that infused the entire hour-long conversation between the Italian novelist and his Israeli interviewer, as Yehoshua acknowledged that “The Name of the Rose,” Eco’s 1980 murder mystery set in a 14th-century Italian monastery, inspired him to write his 1997 historical novel “A Journey to the End of the Millennium,” set in Paris in the 10th century.