The Prague Cemetery, By Umberto Eco
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Saturday 30 June 2012
Back on the tricksy and mystery-spinning form of The Name of the Rose, Eco revisits conspiracies and their deadly madness in this novel of imaginary plots and all-too-real anti-Semitism in the Paris –
and the Europe – of the 1890s. Aided by a translation (from Richard Dixon) that tucks into Eco's rich period pastiche with relish, the story weaves a fictional master of mischief – devilishly clever Simonini – into actual events as the faked Protocols of the Elders of Zion plant the seeds of genocide. Highly enjoyable in its cunning twists, Eco's tale carries a warning from history: beware of political paranoia.
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