Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Prague Cemetery

Hate. Can a novel about evil and hate be entertaining? In the competent hands of Umberto Eco, the answer is yes when it comes to his latest novel, The Prague Cemetery. Eco sets the novel in the tumultuous late 19th century, and all the characters except the protagonist are historical. That protagonist is the scheming, evil, hateful Simonini who gives voice and action to a wide range of vitriol and plots. An equal opportunity figure, Simonini hates Jesuits, Masons, Russians, Germans, French, and blames the Jews for everything. What Eco accomplishes in this portrayal of hate and evil is to give readers goose bumps that such evil lives among us now. Readers who like to think when we read are those most likely to enjoy this finely written novel.

Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)
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