David L. Ulin at the LA Times:
Umberto Eco's seventh novel, “Numero Zero,” represents the continuation of a theme. The story of a newspaper that doesn't publish, it traces a conspiracy, real or imagined, linking a long line of events in Italian history, from the death of Mussolini to the 1978 kidnapping and assassination of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the Red Brigade.
“The point,” a journalist named (aptly) Braggadocio insists, “is everything we heard was false, or distorted, and for twenty years we've been living a lie. I always said: never believe what they tell you …” That this extends to the very story the reporter is telling is, of course, the whole idea.
Eco has long played with the question of meaning — in his criticism and essays, his embrace of semiotics and intertextuality, and his fiction as well. He remains best known (in America, anyway) for his 1980 novel “The Name of the Rose,” but it is two later novels, “Foucault's Pendulum” and “The Prague Cemetery,” that “Numero Zero” most invokes. In those books too he illuminates conspiracies with deep roots, stretching across history: a series of shadow narratives that explain, or undermine our explanation, of the world. In the former, such a conspiracy is invented, although it still has profound ramifications; in the latter, perhaps, not so much.