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A gem of a book that seems to effortlessly interweave the personal, the political, and the mythological. As if it weren't evocative enough already, factor in that di Lampedusa is the great-grandson of the eponymous real-life Leopard--the mind reels. I can't imagine a better narrator for this work than Horovitch--his voice reflects all the book's nuanced emotion, from humor to profound loss, and his pacing is equally sensitive. (BTW, the title for this review is a quote from E.M. Forster.)
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
Aristocrat, landholder, family man, libertine, scientist, Don Fabrizio the Prince of Salina is all of these. The risorgimento, that united the Italian peninsula into a single nation, is ongoing. His favorite nephew marries the beautiful and wealthy daughter of a former peasant. He sees the end of the world where he and his ancestors once were the lords of their proviincial manor. The action in this novel in this novel is largely offstage; by the time the Garibaldini reached Sicily, the unification of Italy was a foregone conclusion. Insteady we see the day to day life of the the Prince and his family: his devout wife, his 3 daughters, his sons, and his lively dog, Bentico. We feel the discomfort of riding in a hot carriage, as the family travels from Palermo to their estate at Donna Fugata, the boredom of the elegant society evening, the cynicism of the Prince as he looks to the future, knowing that the people of Sicily will resist any change, no matter how much it might improve their lot.
This marvelous translation is beautifully read by David Horovitch.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
Once again a wonderful reading by David Horovitz. His mellifluous voice is so well suited to the inner thoughts turned over in the mind of the Prince. His 'character' voices, for example of old peasants, are never charicatures but believable people - in fact one believes in all his characters, whether they be men or women, young of old.
The novel is, as billed, bitter-sweet and nostalgic, summoning up the mid-19th century in Sicily with all its richness, poverty, pride and confusion. The constant effect of the weather on the inhabitants, especially the relentless heat,is well shown.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
Maureen in her review hits the nail on the head. This is a superb book, beautifully written - the original Italian must be like eating a box of rich chocolates - and beautifully narrated. The themes of ageing, the eternal tension between tradition and change, and the bittersweet pleasure of memory and nostalgia have seldom been better explored. I can well understand why this book was a huge bestseller.
five stars for me.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
This book has beautiful classical writing. That's a winner for me. I didn't know how starved I had been for solid writing until I tasted the first lines of this historical novel and was able to savour sentences and feel nourished. The family members about whom the plot revolves is on the precipice of decay along with their "quaint" aristocratic modes. History is ushering in the merchant class of capitalists with their crass manners and badly tailored dinner jackets. It is a warning shot for what we today are forced to endure from lying politicians, unscrupulous and business jackalls who have captured power. The characters are so rounded that I miss them having finished the book. It's such a pity that this is the only book written by this author.