Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Prague cemetery (Il cimitero di Praga) - Umberto Eco

It happened a few times while I was abroad. I said that I was from Italy and the person with whom I was speaking suddenly informed me that their favorite author was also Italian. Once they even asked me to guess who it was. Dante? I thought. No, too old. Montale? Too obscure. Volo? Come on! I give up, who is it? But of course, Umberto Eco! That was their answer. Eco? Wow, I’m surprised, I said. But why was I surprised, then? I have read my first Eco’s novel when I was a kid (if you guessed “The name of the rose”, well, you guessed right) and I have read every novel by him that I came across ever since. I loved each and every one of them. There was no reason to be surprised at all.
I hadn’t read “The Prague cemetery” yet, being one of his most recent works. And of course I’m glad I did finally read it. His usual brilliantly orchestrated complexity, his enormous vocabulary and knowledge of language technicalities, his history expertise - European middle age in particular - with all its corollary of mason lodges, monastic orders, political scheming, military affairs and conspiracy theories: I find it all so fascinating.
This is not only a great novel, it’s also a treaty on counterfeiting, plotting, spying, betraying and lying. The main character does it all by himself, but he might represent a whole section of a secret service, a revolutionary cell, a terrorist organization, a religious sect, you name it.
I’m so sad that Umberto Eco passed away. I will be forever expecting his next new novel.
Original title: Il cimitero di Praga.

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