Wartime fiction

Wartime fiction

I was very sad to hear earlier this year that one of my favourite authors Umberto Eco (see my previous blog) had died. I still had his latest book Numero Zero on my wish list, so thought it was about time to get started reading it and I was immediately pulled into Eco’s world of conspiracy. This novel is set around the establishing of a newspaper that will never be published, but which has a very real staff there to generate content that no-one will ever read.

As a burgeoning relationship develops between two of the journalists, they are drawn into a web of conspiracy theories centred around the allegation that Mussolini was not in fact shot at the end of the second world war in 1945, rather that the shooting was set up as an elaborate hoax to let Mussolini escape to Argentina. This seems to the journalists to tie together many of the political events of post war Italy as intrigue is layered upon intrigue. But following the leads for this explosive story becomes dangerous and paranoia sets in for Colonna and Maia who end up having to go into hiding. You’ll have to read it to find out what happens next.

The Fox in the Attic by Richard Hughes was set between the world wars, and was given to me by my Mum for my birthday. It was exactly the kind of book I usually love, but I never really got into this one. Perhaps just as well, as it is an unfinished trilogy, the author having died before completing all three books, which would have been very frustrating if I had gone on to read the second.

What I did like about this book was that it vividly conjured up a snowy Bavarian landscape, as the English protagonist Augustine goes to visit his German relatives and gets caught up in the world of Germany at the beginning of the rise of the Nazis. This is an era I don’t know enough about and I found myself reading up on the history of the Munich Putsch. But in the end, this novel didn’t grab me enough to want to read its sequel.