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The Prague Cemeteryby Umberto Eco
Synopses & Reviews
The latest international bestseller from the author of The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum.
Nineteenth-century Europe — from Turin to Prague to Paris — abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. Conspiracies rule history. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies, both real and imagined, lay one lone man? What if that evil genius created the world's most infamous document?
"I find this book fascinating, perhaps the best Eco has written in years." Huffington Post
"A well-executed thriller...provocative and suspenseful." USA Today
"A whirlwind tour of conspiracy and political intrigue...this dark tale is delightfully embellished with sophisticated and playful commentary on, among other things, Freud, metafiction, and the challenges of historiography." Booklist
"Vintage Eco...the book is a triumph." New York Review of Books
"[Eco] demonstrates once again that his is a voice that compels our attention." San Francisco Chronicle
"Choreographed by a truth that is itself so strange a novelist need hardly expand on it to produce a wondrous tale....Eco is to be applauded for bringing this stranger-than-fiction truth vividly to life." New York Times
"Classic Eco, with a difference." Los Angeles Times
The Prague Cemetery is the latest international bestseller from Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose. Nineteenth-century Europe abounds with political and religious conspiracies from Turin to Prague to Paris. What if, behind it all, lay one lone man determining the fate of the Continent?
Bored with their work, three Milanese editors cook up "the Plan," a hoax that connects the medieval Knights Templar with other occult groups from ancient to modern times. This produces a map indicating the geographical point from which all the powers of the earth can be controlled—a point located in Paris, France, at Foucaults Pendulum. But in a fateful turn the joke becomes all too real, and when occult groups, including Satanists, get wind of the Plan, they go so far as to kill one of the editors in their quest to gain control of the earth.
Orchestrating these and other diverse characters into his multilayered semiotic adventure, Eco has created a superb cerebral entertainment.
Yambo, a sixtyish rare-book dealer who lives in Milan, has suffered a loss of memory-he can remember the plot of every book he has ever read, every line of poetry, but he no longer knows his own name, doesn't recognize his wife or his daughters, and remembers nothing about his parents or his childhood. In an effort to retrieve his past, he withdraws to the family home somewhere in the hills between Milan and Turin. There, in the sprawling attic, he searches through boxes of old newspapers, comics, records, photo albums, and adolescent diaries. And so Yambo relives the story of his generation: Mussolini, Catholic education and guilt, Josephine Baker, Flash Gordon, Fred Astaire. His memories run wild, and the life racing before his eyes takes the form of a graphic novel. Yambo struggles through the frames to capture one simple, innocent image: that of his first love.
A fascinating, abundant new novel-wide-ranging, nostalgic, funny, full of heart-from the incomparable Eco.
About the Author
Umberto Eco is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the best-selling author of numerous novels and essays. He lives in Italy.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: THE INCIDENT
1. The Cruelest Month 3
2. The Murmur of Mulberry Leaves 28
3. Someone May Pluck Your Flower 45
4. Alone through City Streets I Go 64
PART TWO: PAPER MEMORY
5. Clarabelle's Treasure 81
6. Il Nuovissimo Melzi 90
7. Eight Days in an Attic 117
8. When the Radio 159
9. But Pippo Doesn't Know 178
10. The Alchemist's Tower 212
11. Up There at Capocabana 227
12. Blue Skies Are on the Way 257
13. The Pallid Little Maiden 272
14. The Hotel of the Three Roses 295
PART THREE: OI NO?TOI
15. You're Back at Last, Friend Mist! 301
16. The Wind Is Whistling 325
17. The Provident Young Man 379
18. Lovely Thou Art as the Sun 406
sources of citations and Illustrations 451
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