The top selling Italian novel of all time, The Leopard is considered one of the most important works of Italian literature, and indeed all historical fiction.
Books that come with these accolades can be a bit daunting but I loved this from the very beginning.
Largely set in the summer of 1860 during the invasion of Sicily by Garibaldi’s army and Risorgimento (the unification of Italy). The story is that of an aristocratic family facing social and political change of the time.
But it is really about the essence of what it means to be Sicilian. It’s about privilege and desire for change. At its heart is a charming and sensual, powerful yet thoughtful man – our protagonist Don Fabrizo, the Prince of Salina and “the last leopard”. One of those truly memorable characters. I may have fallen a little bit in love with him myself.
“Among his friends Don Fabrizio was considered an ‘eccentric’; his interest in mathematics was taken almost as sinful perversion, and had he not been actually Prince of Salina and known as an excellent horseman, indefatigable shot and tireless womaniser, his parallaxes and telescopes might have exposed him to the risk of outlawry. Even so the did not say much to him, for his cold blue eyes, glimpsed under the heavy lids, put would-be talkers off, and he often found himself isolated, not, as he thought, from respect, but from fear.”
Beautifully written with a sense of irony and melancholy, this book is evocative and sumptuous. Definitely recommend.
“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”
“Love. Of course, love. Flames for a year, ashes for thirty.”
Book #14 of 2019
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
GENRE: Classic literature