Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics: The Leopard (Hardcover)

Walmart # 0978067940757

Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics: The Leopard (Hardcover)

Walmart # 0978067940757
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9780679407577
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1-5 of 31 reviews

This book was recommended

This book was recommended - handed, actually - to me by a bloke in Oxfam, during an otherwise fruitless browse of their bookshelves. Being too polite (and curious) to dismiss someone's reading recommendation when the book in question was only 79 shiny pence, I did my bit for charity and bought the proffered copy and the unmistakable aroma of other people's houses that came with it. However, not having a clue what it was about, once home, it took a long time for it to work its way up from the bottom of my pile o' books, and it was almost six months after Mr. Random Gent bestowed his blessing upon it that I heaved the sigh one reserves for books one doesn't expect to get into, and got down to it. The Leopard is a rare creature (on my bookshelves, at least); Sicilian historical fiction. It chronicles the fortunes of the Prince of Salina's family, their romances, distractions and exquisitely ordered lives during the Italian Unification, particularly those of the principal character, Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina, mathematician and astronomer, as he comes to understand what current events mean for the future of the aristocracy and his family. Despite a tendency towards the depressive, this is a rather beautiful book... I might be biased after encountering the word 'Squirearchy', but translated or not, the writing brings perfectly into mind the elegance, ostentation, and fragility of the Salina family's world. It is full of sad, warm affection, set perfectly against the cool march of history. Definitely worth reading. My thanks to the nice man in Oxfam. (I hope your daughter enjoyed playing with her Barbie horse).

The Leopard is a rich and

The Leopard is a rich and descriptive novel about a Sicilian prince in the 1860s, an age when aristocracy and the upper classes were in decline. Published posthumously, the author was himself a prince. This book distills Lampedusa's life experiences and associated wisdom into a short 210 pages. The novel is primarily a character study, full of eloquent language and imagery. The figure of Don Fabrizio, the patriarchal prince, looms large: "As he crossed the two rooms preceding the study he tried to imagine himself as an imposing leopard with smooth scented skin preparing to tear a timid jackal to pieces ... it was an irritated Leopard that entered the study." (p. 105) He commands attention in the evenings as he reads "out to his family a modern novel in instalments, exuding dignified benevolence from every pore." (p. 119). And yet he struggles with his decline in local society where, "no longer the major landowner in Donnafugata, ... now found himself forced to receive, when in afternoon dress himself, a guest appearing in evening clothes." (p. 73) Each chapter of the novel is lush and descriptive, painting a picture of the local village, a summer home, and (my personal favorite), a ball: "Evoked, created almost by the approving words and still more approving thoughts, the Colonel now appeared at the top of the stairs. He was moving amid a tinkle of epaulettes, chains and spurs in his well-padded, double-breasted uniform, a plumed hat under his arm and his left wrist propped on a curved sabre. He was a man of the world with graceful manners, well-versed, as all Europe knew by now, in hand-kissings dense with meaning; every lady whose fingers were brushed by his perfumed moustaches that night was able to re-evolke from first-hand knowledge the historical incident so highly praised in the popular press. .... Above the ordered swirl of her pink crinoline Angelica's white shoulders merged into strong soft arms; her head looked small and proud on its smooth youthful neck adorned with intentionally modest pearls. And when from the opening of her long kid glove she drew a hand which though not small was perfectly shaped, on it was seen glittering the Neapolitan sapphire." (p.168-169). It is during this very ball that Fabrizio begins to loathe the very society that has made him a rich and powerful man. The novel's remaining chapters leap across the decades, portraying Fabrizio's decline and his legacy. Since the best part of this book is its very language, it is best read in a quiet nook, and when time allows it to be savored. If conditions are right, the reader will be rewarded.

Everything changes so tha

Everything changes so that nothing changes. The most important Italian novel from the XX century. It's a representation of what it is to be Sicilian, philosophically, literarily and sexually. A must. This book ran the risk never to be published, but luckily it's there, and nowadays translated in most languages, including yours.

Sadly, this is the only n

Sadly, this is the only novel written by the author, and he only just completed it before he died. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, as I see it, good in that he managed to finish writing the book in time, bad that he did not start writing a bit earlier in life so he could have rattled off a few more. But, the preface has something interesting to bear in mind, which having read the book I found myself recalling and agreeing with. It says that an author can only write his first novel once, and that subsequent novels will be affected by the previous works, perhaps not being all that they could have been if they were written without the influence of other ideas. I don't know how true this is, but the author apparently spent his whole life immersed in literature, reading, teaching, discussing it, and this appears to have culminated in him writing this single excellent novel. The story itself is based around his family history, which doesn't sound in itself anything to get too excited about. The story centres around the Prince of Lampedusa - the Leopard - the authors great grandfather. It details family life, the changes occurring in Italy politically, and life in Sicily. The plot isn't intriguing or fast paced, or overly stimulating, but there's enough "human interest" and understated drama to keep the reader interested. This is not really what the book is about though, this book is subtle, and would lose its effect with anything too theatrical or exaggerated going on. This isn't to say that the book is not impressive though, it is just impressive in descriptions of the nuances of the characters moods, the varied environments, and the often wry or amusing interchanges of dialogue. This book paints a now non-existent world, and thanks to the author it has been preserved, if only in fiction for us to enjoy.

This is a dense but worth

This is a dense but worthwhile read. Excellent character development.The author, wrote of his great grandfather, a Prince, during the turbulent times of 1860's Sicily. In some parts of the book,you cannot put it down,other parts fo the book,are just slow. But,the final 2 sections of the book are worth it all.If you like historical fiction,or Italian history,you will probably like this book.
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