21st Century,  General Fiction

The Cemetery of Prague by Umberto Eco

I came across Umberto Eco’s literary theories during my second year in college. After that, I could not but admire this god-like man (in literary terms) so, after I saw The Cemetery of Prague‘s plot it just felt right to read it.

  • Title: The Cemetery of Prague
  • Author: Umberto Eco
  • Year of Publication: 2009
  • Edition: Futura (Spanish edition) – Not published in England yet.
  • Modern Fiction/Best-seller
  • 4/5

Summary from Wikipedia:

The novel begins in Paris in March 1897, and the main character, Captain Simonini – an adventurer and a forger, who works for the secret police a half of the states of Europe, as well as weaving conspiracies and preparing the assassination. According to Eco, “the characters of this novel are not imaginary. They all lived in reality, but actually the main character, but including his grandfather’s mysterious message Banyuelyu abbot, gave rise to all modern anti-Semitism.” “The nineteenth century was eventful in more or less monstrous and mysterious – and then a mystery death of Ippolito Nevo, and forgery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that inspired Hitler’s extermination of the Jews and the Dreyfus affair, and endless intrigue who wove the secret police of different countries, and the Masonic sect, and Jesuit plots, and other events that would seem worthy of the novel with a sequel, when they would not authenticate the documents.”

First of all, I have to say the book has 500 pages, but it makes easy reading. There are three narrators in the 1897 Parisian setting: the narrator (a man who has found the document we are actually reading and who adds his own notes and modifications from a supposed future), the main character, captain Simonini and a friar. Simonini is a mystery himself and so is his past, his present and also his future, adding more tension to the plot that covers his whole life. So, if you’ve ever studied literature, Eco is playing with the levels of fiction and the trust we put as readers into the narrator: can be trust Simonini’s words? and what about the man reporting and modifying the document?

The Cemetery of Prague is a historic novel, full of suspense and tension. It is enriched by the uncountable references to places, art, books, people, wars, buildings, dishes, behaviour, politics… everything! Umberto Eco proves once again his mastery at almost any field making the book suitable for an enormous range of readers. It doesn’t matter if you like literature, history, art or even cooking. You will like this book. However, the references may complicate the plot too much and you might get lost, so, I recommend taking some notes while reading.




    • Elena

      I’m not as attracted to “The Name of the Rose” as I was to this one. I guess it’s because of the setting: 1800’s Paris is historically closer and probably, easier to understand than Medieval times. However, let me know if you read “The Name of the Rose”!

  • trish

    Oooh this does sound good! I loved The Name of the Rose but couldn’t get into Foucaults Pendulum. Hopefully this will be published in English too *crossing fingers*

    • Elena

      Oh yes! It’s schedule for publishing in late 2011, at least in the UK. But you can always get it online or even as an e-book.

      Just one thing: it gets boring and a little bit dense and too deep at moments, but my advice is to keep reading 😉

      Thanks for coming, Trish!!

  • Michael Passariello

    I have read most of Eco’s works: until now, the Name of the Rose was my favorite. I think Umberto Eco,is a frist-rate historical novelist, semiotics expert,and philosopher-historian and should be considered for the Noble Literature Prize. His analyses of age-old conspiracies–now revealing themselves–involving globalists, Zionists, Jesuits, Masons and the ‘bankster” one-percenters, is antithetical to the aims the politically correct media and the pro-semitic American bias that has gotten us into the disastrous economic and moral situation presently. Yes ,his books expect the reader to have a basic liberal arts background and knowledge of world history and culture—something our 4,000 plus greedy, football -crazy and government grant prone inrtitutions of “higher” learning” are failing to provide. Incidentally, the university Eco taught in for years, the “Universita di Bologna, ” is the oldest university of Europe. He is not “antisemitic” and gives ideas about the plot promoted by Henry Ford in his disemination of the phoney Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Bravo Eco ,continue your fight against political “correctness.”

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