Well Thank You, New Yorker

I just read Umberto Eco’s new novel, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, and boy am I ticked at the editors of The New Yorker. “The Gorge,” which they published as a short story in March, turned out to be an excerpt from the book.

That by itself would have been fine; this is how they do things there. Everything is Illuminated had maybe the first third of one of its two narrative threads turned into a New Yorker story and that worked pretty well, to the point of getting me to read the book. I think they ran two separate excerpts from The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, but they were both stories-within-the-story and stood reasonably well on their own without giving even mild hints about the rest of the book.

But did they do that here? Nooooo, they had to go and ruin maybe half the suspense of the novel. The plot of The Mysterious Flame involves an amnesiac trying to remember his past, especially his childhood. About a hundred pages into the book, I started thinking that hey, that town sounds familiar. But once I realized that, I also realized that I already knew what the big secret in Yambo’s past was, because it had been quite nicely presented to me in the pages of The New Yorker.

Thanks a whole lot.