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"Suspicions never go too far. Suspect, always, suspect, that's the only way you get to the truth. Isn't that what science says?"
-- Umberto Eco
I'm not sure what it is about aging, but some of my favorite writers DeLillo, Roth, and Eco produce absolutely sh!t novellas in their later years. Delillo seems to have hit his high mark with 'Underworld'. Philip Roth with 'The Plot Against America'. The minor books these greats wrote in their later years (Roth's entire Nemesis series, for example) just seem like the apathetic efforts of grumpy old men who don't know how to NOT write, but actually seem fairly uninterested in the processes now. It bores them, and thus it bores us too.
And let me just say that when writing a book of less than 200 pages, all future authors take note, PLEASE don't use the term 'danse macabre' more than once unless you are writing ON the medieval genre or allegory or personification of death. Seriously, where was the editor?
OK, to walk back my review, just a bit. There were a few interesting sections of this novella. The Mussolini/Vatican/Gladio/Stay-Behind conspiracy WAS interesting. Also, Eco's critique of journalism was pretty d@mn sharp. Just not sharp and interesting enough to make this anything more than a G-chord (muted middle finger) of a novel. But I would argue you get better writing and a more interesting story from the French Flaps on either Foucault's Pendulum or The Name of the Rose than you get from the entire Numero Nada.
12 of 19 people found this review helpful
Late un life, Umberto Eco turned out some good books, The Prague Cemetery among them. He should have stopped there. This, his last novel, is a disaster.