I’ll always have a soft spot for Umberto Eco. In his latest novel, the main character suffers a stroke and loses his memory, a conceit which allows Professor Eco, famous for his encylopedic card catalogs, to dig through endless items of popular culture in an effort to restore his main character’s memories. “The Mysterious Flame” is an illustrated novel, and a lot of the artwork reproduced in the pages is delightful–everything from old movie posters to Flash Gordon comics, etc etc. The second half of the book is narrated from within a coma, and the last pages stage a personal apocalypse that arrives at a powerful ending.