‘The Prague Cemetery’ by Umberto Eco

9780099555988The Sunday Times defined it as ‘A temptingly complex tale of nineteenth-century plots and conspiracies’, and so it is. Its complexity comes not only from the interplay among the three different narrators and the different genre conventions Eco adopts for different chapters, but also from the plot itself in which he interweaves fiction and real historical events and characters. Such complexity makes it really difficult for the reader to morally locate the main character, Simonini.  He is, in fact, a disgusting mix of bigotry and antisemitism combined with the logics of  state and mass media ideological manipulation. At the same time, through Simonini, Eco conveys all his sharp criticism of our times with entertaining irony and superb scholarship. Highly recommended if you ever wonder where tabloid media come from, and also if you want to have a better idea of how the Holocaust was ever possible.

Eco, U. 2012. The Prague Cemetery. London: Vintage.