'The book is like the spoon: once invented, it cannot be bettered' - Umberto Eco.
These days it is impossible to get away from discussions of whether the book will survive the digital revolution. Blogs, tweets and newspaper articles on the subject appear daily, many of them repetitive, most of them admitting ignorance of the future. Amidst the twittering, the thoughts of Jean-Claude Carrière and Umberto Eco come as a breath of fresh air.
This thought-provoking book takes the form of a conversation in which Carrière and Eco discuss everything from how to define the first book to what is happening to knowledge now that infinite amounts of information are available at the click of a mouse.
En route there are delightful digressions into personal anecdote. We find out about Eco's first computer and the book Carrière is most sad to have sold. 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.
"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"
"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"
"An entertainingly free-range dialogue about writing past, present and future"
"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"
"This book is a reminder that the satisfaction of working through even a relatively short book comes in part through confronting digressions, dead ends and distractions: the hallmark of conversation between friends, not of Internet speed-reading"