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‘So vivid and true . . . Lampedusa is a beautiful novel, lyrical and wise. Reading it made me feel both melancholy and uplifted.’ David Gilmour, Financial Times
‘Brimming with wise and lyrical insights that make it a worthy heir to its mighty predecessor.’ New York Times
In the Sicily of the 1950s, still haunted by memories of Fascism and the war, the last Prince of Lampedusa, Giuseppe Tomasi, struggles to complete his only novel, The Leopard.
Tomasi is a veteran of the previous war, while his wife Alessandra is living in exile after her native Latvia is absorbed into the Soviet Union. The childless couple are survivors of a vanishing world of European aristocracy, living in the present, yet nostalgic for the decadent past. Diagnosed with advanced emphysema and with a profound awareness of his doomed lineage, the prince begins working on a novel. When The Leopard is posthumously published, it is to much acclaim; it will come to be considered the greatest Italian novel of the century.
Achingly haunting, Lampedusa tells the story of a man’s awakening to the possibilities of life as he nears its end.
‘In subtle and intelligent prose, Price invites us into the mind of a man striving to make sense of memory and mortality.’ Sunday Times
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GILLER PRIZE
Price (By Gaslight) illuminates in fine fictionalized fashion the last years of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa as he struggles to write one of the glories of Italian literature, his only novel, The Leopard. In January 1955, Lampedusa is diagnosed with advanced emphysema. His marriage childless, Lampedusa wants to leave something behind after his death and comes up with the idea of a novel that takes place during Garibaldi's invasion of Sicily in 1860. The result is The Leopard, an intimate epic of the dying social order in 19th-century Sicily, mirrored by Lampedusa's observations about his own dying social order in the 20th. While writing, Lampedusa visits the remains of the family estate in Palma, considers adopting a young friend in order to pass on his title of duke, and reminisces about fighting on the Italian Front during WWI and meeting his wife, Alessandra, in London in 1925. Though light on plot, Price vividly recreates an Italy transitioning from postwar austerity to the beginnings of La Dolce Vita, juxtaposing crumbling palazzos with sleek, supercharged sports cars. Price makes Lampedusa as compelling a figure as Lampedusa's hero, Prince Don Fabrizio Salina. Readers will savor this rich look at Italian history.