Eco makes abundant use of his prolific academic training to animate 19th Century history while applying delightful postmodern chicanery to blur fact and fiction as well as finesse the whole with a protagonist suffering an identity crisis which can only be resolved through recourse to the theory and application of one of the 20th Century s greatest freudsters.This is a return to the vivacity of language and ideas paraded in The Name of the Rose and Foucault s Pendulum while simultaneously demonstrating the degree of social manipulation of which individuals and institutions are capable through the exploration of postmodern and metafictional themes.It is every bit as engrossing as these previous novels, but with a subtler and stealthier assault on the reader s intellect and emotions, leaving a nicely open ended denouement as the reward, coupled with curiosity as to the origins of one of the most widespread and lengthiest perpetrations of ethnic and religious persecution that currently exists.While realist writers have trodden the wearying path of portrayal of 20th Century atrocity, Eco has instead created, in the same vein as Ducornet deals with the topic in Entering Fire, a thoughtful and coherent despite the seeming discontinuity of narrative investigation of, and deeply noir satirical response to, enduring genocide.As much a masterpiece as any of the lauded Latin Americans. Umberto Eco s new novel The Prague Cemetery is a fictional account of the origins of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fake document first published at the turn of the 20th century which claims to reveal a Jewish plot to take over the world Even though the text was proven to be a forgery in the early 1920s, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis used The Protocols as justification for the Holocaust The Protocols continued to be published after World War II, and is thought to be the most the most widely circulated work in the world after The Bible In The Prague Cemetery, Eco The Name of the Rose, 1980 Foucault s Pendulum, 1988 imagines The Protocols to be the work of a single man, Captain Simone Simonini, a fictional character Eco describes a bit optimistically as the most cynical and disagreeable in all the history of literature Simonini is a 19th century forger who, throughout his career in Italy and France, is entangled in intricate plots involving secret police and criminals, monarchists and revolutionaries, Jesuits and Templars, Freemasons and Satanists, etc Simonini draws on his own many misdeeds, for example his fabrication of evidence used in the Dreyfus Affair, in composing his penultimate work, a masterpiece forgery which scapegoats Jews for Europe s upheavals.Sounds pretty straightforward, eh Well, in order to tie all of this together, the story is told by an unidentified narrator who comments wryly on Simonini s diary which in turn includes disconcerting entries by a third character, the Abbe Dalla Piccola, who may or may not be Simonini s split personality The narrator does not fail to note the humor in this confusion Certainly, the papers your Narrator is browsing are full of surprises, and might be worth using one day as the basis for a novel The narrator is beginning to find this amoebean dialogue between Simonini and his intrusive abbe rather tiresome To be frank, if it were not for the fact that these pages refer to events that actually took place, such alternations between amnesic euphoria and dysphoric recall might seem like a device of the Narrator On top of it all, Simonini is a gourmand, and much of The Prague Cemetery reads like this So he went at the earliest opportunity to Laperouse, in quai des Grands Augustins, and not downstairs, where they served oysters and entrecotes as they used to, but upstairs, in one of the cabinets particuliers where you could order barbue sauce hollandaise, casserole au riz a la Toulouse, aspics de filets de lapereaux en chaud froid, truffes au champagne, pudding d abricots a la Venitienne, corbeille de fruits frais and compotes de peches et d ananas The other place that had immediately seduced me was the Cafe Anglais, on the corner of rue de Gramont and boulevard des Italiens It had once been a restaurant for coachmen and servants and now served le tout Paris at its tables There I discovered pommes Anna, ecrevisses bordelaises, mousses de volaille, mauviettes en cerises, petites timbales a la Pompadour, cimier de chevreuil, fonds d artichauts a la jardiniere and champagne sorbets The mere mention of these names makes me feel that life is worth living With a feeling of relief I invited Golovinsky to dinner at Paillard, on the corner of Chaussee d Antin and boulevard des Italiens Expensive, but superb Golovinsky clearly appreciated the poulet a l archiduc and the canard a la presse But someone who came from the Steppes may well have tucked into choucroute with the same enthusiasm It would have cost me less, and I could have avoided the waiters suspicious looks at a customer who masticated so noisily At one point, a skeptical character asks, How can an American girl who s only just arrived in France know all the secrets of Italian politics I would add, Or French cuisine But I appreciated most, if not all, of The Prague Cemetery, chewing through it as noisily as I did How can one not enjoy a true to life novel which includes sewers filled with corpses, ships that explode in the region of an erupting volcano, abbots stabbed to death, notaries with fake beards, hysterical female Satanists, the celebrants of black Masses, and so on I especially enjoyed the contemporary illustrations, which are reminiscent of Sidney Paget s original drawings of Sherlock Holmes in Strand Magazine.My only criticism is that while The Prague Cemetery focuses on the roots of modern anti Semitism, Umberto Eco seems uninterested in seriously examining the profound suffering it causes Instead, Eco is satisfied in his belief that his fiction is real and devious than Dan Brown s.If, like me, your knowledge of 19th century European politics, religion, and literature is a little rusty, you might start off with the graphic novel The Plot The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Will Eisner The Plot, with an introduction by Umberto Eco, provides context which makes The Prague Cemetery much enjoyable.http carnegiestout.blogspot.com 201 Nineteenth Century Europe From Turin To Prague To Paris Abounds With The Ghastly And The Mysterious Conspiracies Rule History Jesuits Plot Against Freemasons Italian Republicans Strangle Priests With Their Own Intestines French Criminals Plan Bombings By Day And Celebrate Black Masses At Night Every Nation Has Its Own Secret Service, Perpetrating Forgeries, Plots, And Massacres From The Unification Of Italy To The Paris Commune To The Dreyfus Affair To The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion, Europe Is In Tumult And Everyone Needs A Scapegoat But What If, Behind All Of These Conspiracies Both Real And Imagined, Lay One Lone Man What If That Evil Genius Created Its Most Infamous Document Eco Takes His Readers On An Unforgettable Journey Through The Underbelly Of World Shattering Events Eco At His Most Exciting, A Book Immediately Hailed As A Masterpiece . 19 . . , Eco We have a limit, a very discouraging, humiliating limit death That s why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end It s a way of escaping thoughts about death We like lists because we don t want to die.Interview in Der Spiegel, November 11, 2009 Update thank you EcoUmberto Eco, 84, Best Selling Academic Who Navigated Two Worlds, DiesBy JONATHAN KANDELLFEB 19, 2016in in an interview of 2011, said he had put in his Simone Simonini mouth a lot of abominous ideas anti Semitic, racism a repugnant character Simone Simonini not to be taken seriously If not a comic, I am a grotesque writer Heavy historical novel.Very European context March 1897, piazza Maubert, near Paris,by the Bi vre,an affluent of the La Seine river Paris is not what it used to be, now with this pencil sharpener called Eiffel Towerso thinks sixty seven year old Simone Simonini He wonders about his identity who am I He defines himself by reference to others defects He bashes rudely at other races and peoples He repels, grossly, the Germans their repugnant sweat smell, their languagetheir addiction to beerno interesting art even great composers are depreciated under Simonini ordinary Beethoven, noisy Wagner and no harmony in Bach The Germans took seriously that glutinous monk called Luther.The French, are also criticized they are lazy and mean Ils grognent toujours.Italians as well And yet, Simone s father was Italian and his mother a French woman Simonini became French because he could not stand being Italian Italians are liars and vile and traitors He says like with plants crossing , if you cross a French with a Hebrew you have the present Republic III.Nevertheless, he s got nothing against the Hebrew people his grandfather captain Simonini taught him they are the atheist people par excellence Simone Simonini recalls eighteen centuries of hate, though.But the worst of all are the Jesuitsand the Freemasons Jesuits are Masons dressed as women.Thus, he considers himself to be a chaste man since he doesn t like women He loves food and drink.Simonini is a forgerer of documents and an antiques dealer Strangely, he s got memory problems even personality issues it seems, he cannot distinguish himself from Abbot Dalla Piccola, who happens to live in the same building There s a corridor connecting the two homes, and one day Simonini finds a wig his Abbot s or of one and single person And this was Chapter Two of Eco s book Chapter Three deals with acquaintances of the forgerer at the famous restaurant Magny Chez Magny he meets a medical doctor,an Austrian Jew called Fr id, any bell rang thirty years old, studying with Charcot the hysteria phenomenon Simonini sees Fr id as a liar who studies and uses cocaine for his own sake,and who suffers from black billis.Interesting references are made to the study of hysteria, the use of magnetism by some and hypnosis by others for the treatment of the psychiatric condition Again, the antiques dealer digresses about the Hebrews, their smellthe fector judaica and concludes they re all communists he s got no Hebrew friends The case of Diana is introduced two personalities in the same body and different memories of the acts perpetrated by these two radically different personalities Chapter Four grandfather s times Simonini recalls childhood in Turim, he managed to speak the purest Grenoble French not the Paris babil Grandfather told him about the madness of the Revolution,.and the worldwide complot of the Knights Templar against Christianity.Also about his connections to Augustin de Barruel 1741 1820 a conspiracy theorist Simone discloses his pleasure wearing the vests of priest Bergamaschi,how he felt superiorand about chocolate and coffee delights.Amazing Chapter Five because it s penned by Abbot Dalla Piccola He knows about Simonini than the other way around He reveals that Simonini was an active Mason that he belonged to the Carbonaria A Simonini that in the previous chapter was so critical about Masonnery aims Lilia pedibus destrue destroy and step on the Fleur de Lis of France The Freemasons wanted to destroy both altar and throne.And chapter Six Here, Simone severely decries about the Abbot you know too much about me Simonini envisions the Jesuits meeting at the Jewish cemetery in Prague them, conspiring under the moon, to help Napoleon III Interestingly, Bergamaschi was a counselor to the monarch.The forgerer prides himself of his first masterpiece of forgery and later, gets his first spy mission to join writer Alexandre Dumas in his ship Emma of course, Dumas had joined the liberators, under Garibaldi A detail on his mission, the captain cannot avoid taking with him the vests of priest Bergamaschi Simone is now in Sicily Through his eyes we see Garibaldi the leader is not the Apollo , as Dumas saw him He describes him as of modest stature, blondish but not blond, with short legs and affected by rheumatism , he noticed when the leader had to be helped while riding horses Simonini distrusts heroes.and doesn t wear the Red Shirt of the liberators, but the ecclesiastic vests of priest B.Garibaldi has received from the British Masonry 3 million French Francs in golden Turkish piastras.So you think I would go on till chapter Twenty Seven No, I won t Just a few words of closure for this review 1 The book has marvelous 19th century illustrations from the author s archive that help a lot understanding the plot or the story, if you will 2 Due to Simone s likings the book is truly a cookeries compendium menus abound Protocols , 1912 edition 3 It s really historically thick the plot ahead Simone will visit many places will kill Abbot Piccola many adventures ahead, even with protestant Diana But the core of the book may lie in the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in fact, according to several sources, they are a lie Eco refers 1925 Hitler s book Mein Kampf and the London Times of 1921 both indicating a forgery The Times, August 17, 1921 4 Finally, Eco says all book characters were real persons, but Simone.PS About Simone s name In the book it is indicated why the main character got that name someone in the family told Simone in memory of Saint Simonino, a martyr kid of Trento, kidnapped by the Jewsthat used his blood in their rites That explains a lot.From wiki Simon of Trent German Simon Unverdorben Italian Simonino di Trento also known as Simeon 1472 March 21, 1475 was a boy from the city of Trento, Italy whose disappearance was blamed on the leaders of the city s Jewish community based on their confessions under torture,causing a major blood libel in Europe Dec 21st 2011 For fans of Eco he s been recently interviewed by GR some of his words may be elucidating about this and other of his books And, within two months he ll be eighty years old Nice. A mystic is a hysteric who has met her confessor before her doctorUmberto Eco, The Prague CemeterySo, I dropped one star because first I was a little disappointed that none of the stars on Goodreads were upside down pentagrams or hexagrams Also second , I left off one star because by about page 400, I was drained of all my anti Semitic antibodies The crazy fundamentalism, fractured insanity, and conspiracy rich shadows of anti Jewish attitudes in Europe during the 100 years from the mid 1800s till Hitler s Final Solution just isn t easy to stomach for me after 400 pages How am I going to ever read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Ugh OK, so that explains my missing star relegated to the sewer Now to what I liked First, Eco is kinda amazing This is my second of his novels I read Foucault s Pendulum years and years ago and love how he folds in the real with his fiction He makes Dan Brown seem like some half literate child who can only read travel guides to Europe Eco is the master of conspiracy, grey history, Jesuits, Freemasons, Carbonari, Garibaldi, Satan and international anarchism to boot Plus he really knows food I disagree with Theo Tate s take on Eco using Updike as a hammer when he says that Eco s orgy of citation and paraphrase is unbearable It wasn t the DETAIL that killed me, but the necessary rantings of Eco s fictional dual narrator s The details I quite enjoyed.Anyway, about 100 pages into this novel and I began to see resemblances of the book s protagonist anti hero Simone Simonini to Mark Hofman a famous Mormon forger and bomber A little creepy how close in someways these two resemble each other at least to me It all works with one of my favorite lines of the book and probably one of Eco s main themesThis led me to think, even then, that if I wanted to sell the story of a conspiracy, I didn t have to offer the buyer anything original, but simply something he already knew or could find out easily in other ways People believe only what they already know, and this is the beauty of the Universal Form of ConspiracyOver 25 years ago Mark Hofman figured this out, when selling documents to the Mormon Church, and those who pimp conspiracy theories now most certainly know too Don t sell someone something they don t know, sell them what they already believe just make sure the it smells vaguely authentic Creativity isn t a must if you are a forgeror selling a conspiracy, just if you are Umberto Eco Eco could teach Jason Matthews the art of how to delicately introduce gastronomes into a novel. Il Cimitero di Praga The Prague cemetery, 1st American ed., 2011, Umberto EcoThe Prague Cemetery Italian Il cimitero di Praga is the sixth novel by Italian author Umberto Eco It was first published in October 2010 the English translation by Richard Dixon appeared a year later Shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2012, it has been described as Eco s best novel since The Name of the Rose The main character is Simone Simonini, a man whom Eco claims he has tried to make into the most cynical and disagreeable character in all the history of literature and is the only fictional character in the novel He was born in Turin in 1830 His mother died while he was still a child and his father was killed in 1848 fighting for a united Italy He is brought up by his grandfather, an old reactionary who houses Jesuit refugees and hates the Jews he claims that the French Revolution was planned by the Knights Templar, the Bavarian Illuminati and the Jacobins, but behind them all, he says, were the Jews 2012 1392 698 1390 536 9786006182148 20.