Customer Review

399 of 424 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant writing, odd story, September 23, 2011
This review is from: The Prague Cemetery (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Umberto Eco is anything but a pedant in his writing. The world was in turmoil between 1885 and 1905. Eco has thrown the whole mess of Europe in the late 19th century into one story, threaded it all through the hateful and vengeful eye of a delerius psychotic, and made it all make sense. The book is chock full of everything from Sigmund Freud (spelled Froid [umlaut]) to Napoleon, and for my money, I believe much of the backstory is true to history as I have learned it.
The style is gripping, entertaining, and rife with hidden meaning between the lines so that the reader seems to know what the narrator/main character does not. Simonini reveals from about the second page that he is the multiple-personality, the psychotic, the borderline person whom he seeks. We know it. We even begin to realize that others who know Simonini also know him as either a fraud or a lunatic. One of the masterful ways in which this is done is the character describing everyone he hates. Germans. Jews. French. Russians. The one thing that makes this so different from all his other novels is the level of sexual perversion graphically described, the twisting of motives of everyone from Jewish Rabbis to Templar Masons, of course through the eyes of a madman, and the level of depravity it makes the reader FEEL. Now, any author desires to elicit emotion from a reader, even if it is anger. Eco managed to step on all my buttons. This book is thick with hate speech, promiscuity, and murder. The writing is flawlessly brilliant, but the subject matter is not gentled by even the smallest point. One does wonder, since the book is translated from Italian, whether the translator is the brilliant here, but likely, they are equals. I read this for the Vine program, and if not for needing to supply a review, probably would not have finished it. It is so completely grim, so dark, foreboding, and evil, that I felt exhausted by it.
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Comments

Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 22, 2011 10:21:27 AM PST
Bookluvah says:
A complete and honest review. Thanks...

Posted on Dec 17, 2011 9:35:17 PM PST
Mary Wilbur says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jan 13, 2012 9:46:31 PM PST
Bob Davis says:
This review was valuable to me in helping to introduce myself to a fascinating but immensely puzzling new book by Umberto Eco

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2012 9:18:45 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 13, 2012 3:37:09 PM PDT]

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 10:59:08 AM PST
Lukrezia Schacht: I really enjoyed it to read this great book. It is amazing.

Posted on Feb 25, 2012 5:35:02 PM PST
ANUBSI says:
PERFECT REVIEW. Much of history and those it peopled is very unpleasant but needs to be examined. This book is a statement on just how despicable too many human beings are. So what's new? Additionally, I'm not sure that Eco completely understands all the between the lines action. Difficult but amazingly well written book. But then I love comedies.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 3:25:11 PM PST
Reading this thoughtful and thorough review helped me decide to put "Prague Cemetery" on my "someday" reading list. I, too, love Eco's writing, but lighter fare is calling me just now. Barb in Wisconsin

Posted on Feb 22, 2013 11:43:18 AM PST
I've started this book, but am finding it really hard to read. Your review made me understand why.

Posted on Jul 6, 2013 5:02:22 PM PDT
Mariah says:
Outstanding review. Many thanks. Please continue writing reviews.
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