Author, semiotician and renowned erudite Umberto Eco will appear in Toronto Wednesday, Nov .11 to discuss his latest novel, The Prague Cemetery.
The novel tells the story of a fictional, 19th Century antihero named Simone Simonini. The Paris Review of Books says Simonini “is a master forger and plays an important role in crafting the ‘conspiracies’ of his time”, foremost, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
While reviews such as Michael Dirda of the Washington Post praised The Prague Cemetery for its clever aphorisms and allusions, the work has been criticized for not treating the subject of the anti-Semitism with the seriousness it deserves.
The Guardian wrote:
“The mood of historical pastiche and learned joke comes up uncomfortably against the history of European antisemitism. The many excerpts of hate literature (“After the crocodile, the Jew is the most musical of all animals”) and the reprinted antisemitic caricatures exert a grim fascination, but they leave the reader feeling queasy.”
In an interview with the Paris Review of Books, Eco said the novel is most likely the last he will write.
Umerto Eco will speak to the public between 7 and 8:30 p.m. at the Appel Salon in the Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge Street. The event is sold out but the library’s website says a rush line will form at 6 p.m. for seating in an adjacent room where the talk will be shown on video.