The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco

First Ondaatje and Murakami and DeWitt, now Eco. Fall 2011 is shaping up to be pretty heavy. On November 8, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish Umberto Ecos latest novel, The Prague Cemetery, in Richard Dixon’s translation.

HMH’s marketing copy could use a little work:

Eco takes his readers here on an unforgettable journey through the underbelly of world-shattering events. This is Eco at his most exciting, a book immediately hailed as his masterpiece.  

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

The novel, titled “The Prague Cemetery”, is the story of a secret agent who “weaves plots, conspiracies, intrigues and attacks, and helps determine the historical and political fate of the European Continent”. 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. Except the main character, they all lived in reality, including his grandfather, author of the mysterious message to abbot Barruelo which gave rise to all modern anti-Semitism”. “The nineteenth century was full of monstrous and mysterious events – the mysterious death of Ippolito Nievo, the forgery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that inspired Hitler’s extermination of the Jews, the Dreyfus affair and endless intrigue spun by the secret police of different countries, the Masons, Jesuit plots, and other events whose accuracy can’t ever be authenticated, but that serve as fodder for feuilletons 150 years later”.[2]

Actually, you know what? I think I already read this novel. It was called Against the Day.

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