Set in a sun-drenched Sicily, among the decadent Italian aristocracy of the late 1950s, Steven Price’s Lampedusa explores the final years of Giuseppe Tomasi, the last prince of Lampedusa, as he struggles to complete his only novel, The Leopard.
In 1955, Tomasi was diagnosed with advanced emphysema; shortly after, he began work on a novel that would fail to be published before his death four years later. When The Leopard at last appeared, it won Italy’s Strega Prize and became the greatest Italian novel of the century.
Adhering intensely to the facts of Tomasi’s life but moving deep into the mind of the author, Lampedusa inhabits the complicated interior of a man facing down the end of his life and struggling to make something of lasting worth while there is still time.
This is a beautifully written novel. It’s full of SO MUCH detail though. I wasn’t in the mood for this much detail hence my rating as it’s based on my personal experience of reading the novel. Therefore, the novel’s plot itself denotes a prince that is slowly dying from Emphsema. During his last few years of life he explores nature of memory, love and more. He grieves throughout his life and is quite reflective. He longs for simplicity despite his immense complexities.
It was an experience reading this novel here’s an example:
“Gliding footsteps of a god, and the intelligence in her liquid eyes. She had become a part of his, a second great house, a loss he could inhabit that was his and his alone that could not be taken from him again for it no longer stood in the world of the living. She had become memory, and this he could not reject, for it was not separate from his self, and so she had achieved what she had desired in the end.“