(Warning: spoilers are present here. They are present everywhere. Also, I get that I am using two referencing systems here; I apologize if this annoys anyone, but hey, that is one of the perks of having your own website: you get to reference things however you want! That said, if anyone finds them truly offensive and/or inaccurate, please let me know.)
Hello everyone! Today’s post is going to be on The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco, published in 2010. This is a well-crafted piece of historical fiction, and so I am likely going to spend more time detailing what this book did right than what it did not, not that that is a bad thing.
The Prague Cemetery is set in the period from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth, and partly focuses on conspiracies in European history- from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to anti-Freemason rantings, this book has it all. At the same time, it dips heavily into the actual historical events of the period. The book begins in Italy prior to unification and ends in France in the 1920s. The protagonist is certainly an unusual choice for a main character; a professed Anti-Semite, the opening pages of the novel (which takes the form of a diary) are comprised of a vicious tirade against, in this order, Jewish people, Germans, Italians, Frenchmen (and women), Jesuits, and Masons, with scattered other racial stereotypes (“vain as a Spaniard… unwashed as an Englishman”) thrown in for good measure. In short, the main character is neither likeable nor a particularly accurate narrator. This, however, is the central conceit of the novel; the protagonist is slowly recovering his memory of the events he has had a hand in over the years, which range from the Italian Wars of Unification to the creation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The sheer range of events present in the book means that I will likely do several posts on it. Therefore, I will begin at the beginning- the treatment of the Italian Wars of Unification in the book. Continue past the link (Next time I promise there will be some actual information before the link) for more.