Milan, 1992. Colonna, a depressed hack writer, is offered a fee he can't refuse to ghostwrite a memoir. His subject: a fledgling newspaper financed by a powerful media magnate.
As Colonna gets to know the team, he learns the paranoid theories of Braggadocio, who is convinced that Mussolini's corpse was a body double and part of a wider Fascist plot. It's the scoop he desperately needs. The evidence? He's working on it.
Colonna is sceptical. But when a body is found stabbed to death in a back alley and the paper is shut down, even he is jolted out of his complacency.
Fuelled by conspiracy theories, Mafiosi, love, corruption and murder, Numero Zero reverberates with the clash of forces that have shaped Italy since the Second World War. This gripping novel from the author of The Name of the Rose is told with all the power of a master storyteller.
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By DFK on 07-05-17
Good Eco, but not his best
If you are an Umberto Eco fan (as I am), you'll enjoy this, but probably feel as I did that it doesn't quite live up to the level of pleasure of his long novels. This one is short, satirical, and amazingly relevant in places other than Italy. When a US president accuses his predecessor of tapping his phone without any evidence, and keeps blaming the media for making him look bad, you know that conspiracy theorists are alive and well, that there is a media that goads them on and that the conspiracy theorists feed a portion of the media. With Wikileaks, hacking of servers before elections (today is the second round of the election in France and Macron was supposedly hacked) - well, this is the stuff that make the kinds of stories that Eco can work with. Though the conspiracies in this book focus on Italian shenagegans, I'm sure you can think of parallel episodes - strange-but-true and those that are nothing but "fake news" - that make this novel a fun take on what we actually live with while we regular citizens just focus on "how to avoid taxes", as Maia puts it . The narration was excellent.