> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099552451
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $27.99

This is Not the End of the Book

A conversation curated by Jean-Philippe de Tonnac




The perfect gift for book lovers: a beautifully designed hardcover in which two of the world's great men have a delightfully rambling conversation about the future of the book in the digital era, and decide it is here to stay.

These days it is almost impossible to get away from discussions of whether the ‘book’ will survive the digital revolution. Blogs, tweets and newspaper articles appear daily on the subject, many of them repetitive, most of them admitting they don’t know what will happen. Amidst the twittering, the thoughts of Jean-Claude Carrière and Umberto Eco come as a breath of fresh air. There are few people better placed to discuss the past, present and future of the book. Both of them avid book collectors with a deep understanding of history, they have explored through their work, both written and visual, the many and varied ways in which ideas have been represented through the ages.

This beautifully produced book, an object of desire in itself, is the transcription of a long conversation between the two men in which they discuss a vast range of subjects, from what can be defined as the first book, to the idea of the library, the burning of books both accidental and deliberate, and what will happen to knowledge and memory when infinite amounts of information are available at the click of a mouse. En route there are delightful digressions into personal anecdote about everything from Eco’s first computer to the book Carrière is most sad to have sold.

Readers will close this book feeling that they have had the privilege of eavesdropping on an intimate discussion between two great minds. 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. After all, as Eco says: like the spoon, once invented, it cannot be bettered.

  • Published: 1 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099552451
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $27.99

About the authors

Umberto Eco

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-Claude Carrière

Jean-Claude Carrière is a writer, playwright and screenwriter. He is notably the co-author of Conversations About the End of Time (with Stephen Jay Gould, Umberto Eco, etc.) He has also worked with Peter Brook, Milos Forman, Buñuel, Godard and the Dalaï Lama.

Praise for This is Not the End of the Book

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

Nick Harkaway

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

Wayne Gooderham, Time Out

An entertainingly free-range dialogue about writing past, present and future

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

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

Dazed and Confused

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

Wall Street Journal

As the conversation blossoms, the pair wander blissfully off topic into wider philosophical speculation about the nature of culture, for instance or humanity's curious relationship with past, present and future. And along the way there are plenty of pleasant diversions and anecdotes, taking in such diverse subject matter as Italian cinema forgotten French baroque poets, and the place of philosophy in contemporary European education systems. All this, naturally, informed by their love of books

Times Literary Supplement

They're great thinkers and talkers, with a lifetime of book-loving behind them, the pair digress into fascinating areas, discussing how new media give rise to their own languages, how we came to have the canon of great literature we do now and the effect that ephemerality, memory, religion and even fakery have had on the world of books

Herald

A lively exchange of views… it’s fun to eavesdrop on their conversation

Ian Pindar, Guardian

Playful and learned

Nick Clee, Observer

Related titles