I either love Umberto Eco’s novels or I hate them and don’t even attept to finish them. For example, I loved The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum. I hated Baudolino. So what about The Prague Cemetary, you ask? Loved it!
The Prague Cemetery is a story in which all the characters except one—the main character—really existed. Even the protagonist’s grandfather, the author of a mysterious actual letter that triggered modern anti- Semitism, is historical.
The only made up character is completely despicable and you will learn this on page one. Simonini (and his alter ego Abbe Piccola) is not a nice person. In fairness, you might expect that people engaged in intelligence work might not have the same scruples that others do. They are often asked to do things that are simply abhorrent to the rest of us and Simonini does these things and more.
The Prague Cemetary can be difficult reading. The plot revolves around the creation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. If you are not familiar with this particular conspiracy theory, check it out online before you read Eco’s novel Also, I suggest you consult the chapter guide Eco included at the end of the novel prior to beginning the book. This will make the plot somewhat easier to follow.
The mystery surrounding the creation of the protocols makes this story for me – I do love a good conspiracy theory! Eco’s use of the historical facts as a basis for his novel makes it VERY interesting and only made me want to research the information more (if only there were more hours in the day). I loved this book, but as I read this novel, Goldman Sachs and its global activities were in the back of my mind. But it’s just a conspiracy theory — right?
Book Details: Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade (November 8, 2011), 464 pages, ISBN: 0547577532.