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 Carriere and Umberto Eco come as a breath of fresh air. This thought-provoking book takes the form of a conversation in which Carriere 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 Carriere is most sad to have sold. And while, as Carriere 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.
Jean-Claude Carriere is a writer, playwright and screenwriter, who recently collaborated with Michael Haneke on his award-winning film The White Ribbon. He has worked with many of the twentieth century's great directors including Peter Brook, Milos Forman, Bunuel and Jean-Luc Godard, and is the author of Please Mr Einstein. Umberto Eco (1932-2016) wrote fiction, literary criticism and philosophy. His first novel, The Name of the Rose, was a major international bestseller. His other works include Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of the Day Before, Baudolino, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, The Prague Cemetery and Numero Zero along with many brilliant collections of essays. Jean-Philippe de Tonnac is a writer and editor. His interviews with Umberto Eco, Jean-Claude Carriere and Stephen Jay Gould were published in the book Conversations About the End of Time. He is also the editor of several collections of essays, not yet translated into English, which include A Universal Dictionary of Bread andAn Encyclopaedia of Knowledge and Belief.