They were most unlike except in vocation and talent. Umberto Eco and Harper Lee were catapulted to fame by their first novels, The name of the Rose and To Kill a Mockingbird. Eco, the Italian semiotics professor, conjured up the medieval world set in an unnamed Italian monastery, with all the debates and scientific advances that paved the way for the ambiguous modernity that surrounds us. When glory came, Harper Lee withdrew from the world into the Alabama of her childhood, like Boo Radley, the noble yet timid character that never left home in the fictional Maycomb of her novel. Eco, however, embraced his fame fully, with the passion of an Italian tenor, to voice his readings of the conflicting signals that emit those unique creatures that breath and leave their mark in that mysterious and brief adventure we call life.