Friday, April 17, 2009

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Came to this novel late, but what a treat I had in store. There was so much to relish that I felt like starting it again immediately.

A Sicilian Prince (Fabrizio de Salina) is caught in a time where the old order is changing - Garibaldi is unifying Italy and a new democratic era is born.

But as well as being about the end of a way of life, it's a prolonged elegy for life, and love. About the useless pre-marriage abstinence of Tancredi and Angelica: "these overtures which outlive the forgotten operas they were intended for".

There's a wonderful death bed scene where Fabrizio does a reckoning of all the happiness he felt in his life: "2 weeks before the marriage and 6 weeks after, Bendico’s (his dog) delicious nonsense, the caressing paws of Pop the pointer...".

The lives are depicted vividly and humourously. "Then all found peace in a little heap of livid dust."