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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


The Prague Cemetery

Umberto Eco

[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]

general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase The Prague Cemetery

Title: The Prague Cemetery
Author: Umberto Eco
Genre: Novel
Written: 2010 (Eng. 2011)
Length: 417 pages
Original in: Italian
Availability: The Prague Cemetery - US
The Prague Cemetery - UK
The Prague Cemetery - Canada
The Prague Cemetery - India
Le cimetière de Prague - France
Der Friedhof in Prag - Deutschland
Il cimitero di Praga - Italia
El cementerio de Praga - España
  • Italian title: Il cimitero di Praga
  • Translated by Richard Dixon

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Gave it 150 pages, and it still didn't seem to be going anywhere -- basically: too much mention of Eugène Sue and too little that read like Eugène Sue (who knew how to do conspiratorial melodrama)

Chances that we will review it:


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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 4/11/2011 Theo Tait
The Independent . 11/11/2011 Lisa Appignanesi
Le Magazine Littéraire . 8/4/2011 Pierre Assouline
El País . 4/12/2010 Justo Navarro
Wall St. Journal . 5/11/2011 Sam Sacks
The Washington Post . 9/11/2011 Michael Dirda

  From the Reviews:
  • "In outline, Simonini's story sounds fun (.....) In practice, though, The Prague Cemetery is a tiring plod. (...) The novel also leaves a slightly unpleasant taste in the mouth. Eco is basically a playful writer: even his best novels are little more than brilliant mechanical toys. Here, the mood of historical pastiche and learned joke comes up uncomfortably against the history of European antisemitism." - Theo Tait, The Guardian

  • "Not being a great fan of Dumas or Sue, I would have loved to take my editorial pencil to this book and some of its spins and twists. But Eco is a comic master and, in his 80th year, his irreverent intelligence, if not always his plotting or scabrous taste, remains bracing." - Lisa Appignanesi, The Independent

  • "Le Cimetière de Prague offre un boulevard à l’esprit de l’époque, la nôtre, si prompte à débusquer le complot à l’oeuvre à chaque coin de rue. Sous le couvert anodin et ludique de la fiction, il fera bien plus de ravages dans l’imaginaire. Mais, de cette responsabilité, l’auteur entend se laver les mains au motif que l’interprétation est du seul ressort des lecteurs." - Pierre Assouline, Le Magazine Littéraire

  • "Como es habitual en el Eco narrador, El cementerio de Praga funde con genio fábula y pensamiento, y humor, un humor de risa sombría y fondo horripilante. Hay páginas en que los documentos históricos se imponen sobre la fantasía, quizá porque se trata de materiales tan fabulosos e inverosímiles que, siendo verdaderos, merecen pertenecer al reino de la imaginación disparatada. La novela, sin embargo, es histórica, aunque sea también un cuento filosófico-político que habla de cosas actuale" - Justo Navarro, El País

  • "The novel's chief enjoyment lies in the guilty pleasure of despising Mr. Eco's super-villain -- for a little while, at least, we have a scapegoat to blame for one of history's most pernicious nightmares." - Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

  • "The Prague Cemetery is certainly engrossing and cautionary, but it mainly offers, to adopt Joseph Conradís biblical-sounding phrase, the appalling fascination of the abomination. Be aware, then, that Umberto Eco hasnít produced anything close to what one might call a fun read or a light entertainment. The Prague Cemetery is, in fact, an all-out horror story." - Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The Prague Cemetery: Reviews: Umberto Eco:
  • Other books by Umberto Eco under review: Other books of interest under review:

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    About the Author:

           Italian author Umberto Eco is professor at the University of Bologna. He has written both academic books and popular novels.

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    © 2011 the complete review

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