29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
WARNING: If you happen to be stupid, lazy, racist or boring, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK, otherwise...,
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This review is from: The Prague Cemetery (Hardcover)
Somebody give that crazy recorder-blowin', lecture-givin', nicotine-smokin', salmon-travelin', beard-growin', Aquinas-readin-, list-lovin' semioticious polymath a High Five. Literature doesn't get much better than this. Read it, or be square, or whatever. It really is very good, even in translation. Going by the hilarious contrast of reviews already on t'internet for this, it seems to be clear that it's going to be a love it or hate it read for most.
I have some sympathy with the anxiety of some readers that stupid people might engage with the text as a real manifesto for anti-semitism (not to mention anti-Jesuitism among other things) but I can't help thinking that reviewers who worry of such things have missed a lot of the juicy nuance of the work. Also, I feel that the whole point of the foul yet fascinating protagonist is to demonstrate the very 'real' historical presence of cultural and institutional anti-semitism, thus giving us no place to hide (even today) from the responsibility of keeping our guard up against xenophobia in general. If anything, a racist reader might well come to her senses after reading Prague Cemetery, not that life is ever so simple.
If you enjoy Eco's other work, it's hard to imagine that you won't love this; if you're new to his writing, I suggest reading his fiction in order of publication (starting with The Name Of The Rose (Vintage Classics)) - this way you get a sense for how each work grows out of the others - then come back and join me in my big High Five.