Sam Leith

A Life in the Library

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana


Secker & Warburg 456pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Imagine you were to wake up smothered in thick fog. Imagine you were to wake up in a coma. Imagine you were to wake up in an Umberto Eco novel. Such are the bafflements and misfortunes suffered by the narrator and protagonist of The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. The book opens with two lines of unattributed dialogue:

‘And what’s your name?’

‘Wait, it’s on the tip of my tongue.’

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