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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  783 ratings  ·  134 reviews
In sun-drenched Sicily, among the decadent Italian aristocracy of the late 1950s, Giuseppe Tomasi, the last prince of Lampedusa, struggles to complete the novel that will be his lasting legacy, The Leopard. With a firm devotion to the historical record, Lampedusa leaps effortlessly into the mind of the writer and inhabits the complicated heart of a man facing down the end ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by McClelland & Stewart (first published 2019)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "languid, dignified, melancholy" stars !!

Giuseppe Tomassi di Lampedusa was the last of his royal line. The prince of Lampedusa and the author of "the Leopard" the top selling novel in Italian history that was published posthumously and won the 1959 Strega Prize.

Canadian author Steven Price has written a fictionalized biography of this enigmatic, complex and self-doubting man of erudition, intelligence and deep emotion. This is amidst the turbulent times of Sicily from 1900s to 1950s.

This i
”He had lived sixty years on this earth and his memories had grown up around him like a garden, so that he now could walk among them and reach out a hand and crush their leaves in his fingers for the scent.”

Historical Background
(view spoiler)
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Steven Price is a fresh face for me: I hadn't read By Gaslight when it came out, but I may want to fix this now. Not in 2020, an annus horribilis when everything Victorian or Victorian-inspired seems to feel grating somehow, but at some point in the future, certainly. In short, Price made a fantastic impression on this reader. Fun fact: Esi Edugyan and him are an item and live in British Columbia. Maybe this is common knowledge and I’m just late to the party, mind you.

Not only had I not read By
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
The descriptions of Sicily in here are genuinely transporting, and this is one of those rare books that earns its sentimentality. Elegant and precise and very, very sad.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: can-con, 2019, arc
The past seemed a great flowing passage through which his bloodline passed, back through the wastrel grandfathers and great-grandfathers, to the saints and holy men of the eighteenth century, to the legendary civic figures of the seventeenth and the royal granting of Lampedusa in 1667 and the first Tomasi's wedding to the heiress of Palma, and deeper, back up the coast to Naples, to Capua, and further back to Siena, and then into the fog of an almost time, to Lepanto or Cyprus or the age of T
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
A very literary story - as in both it's a story about Giuseppe Tomasi and his writing of The Leopard and written in a literary style. This wasn't a book to race through, the story and style of writing is excellent, but it is definitely one where slow reading must happen.

Lampedusa is longlisted for the 2019 Giller Prize and while it's extremely literary, it sits outside of the others on the list perhaps? It just has a very different sense to it - if I'm explaining that properly. It will be inter
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fictionalized tale about a real historical figure, the writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. He only wrote one novel, The Leopard, which wasn't published until after his death but was celebrated as one of the greatest Italian works of literature. Giuseppe was also the last Prince of the island of Lampedusa, situated south of Sicily. I have to admit that going into this book I knew nothing about Lampedusa, the writer or the place. I suspected it might be based on a real man but I wasn't ...more
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Price’s fictionalized account of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s final months is a pleasure to read. So many aspects of this book are notable: the style of writing, the characters, the setting. I am now officially inspired to read The Leopard!
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cultural immersion coupled with deepest human emotions of memory.

And yet so very sad. Crystal perceptions filtered through melancholic lens of your own vivid memories of a dying world. The world of your youth and often of a much more joyful splendor.

It actually chilled me amidst the ruins left behind. It came way too close to the eyes of age and home.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I may not have been a good candidate to read this book as I have not read The Leopard nor have I seen the movie. But I liked the description of the book and it is a handsome book from Farrar, Straus and Giroux at 328 pp.
It intrigued me to read the story of the old man, Giuseppe Tomasi, suffering from lung complaint, yet determined to write the story of his great grandfather - and that is what is documented here. He did not live to see the book published, but it was accomplished not long after hi
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel by Steven Price is stunning. it is not a novel to be read quickly, nor should it be. Price’s prose is lush, poetic and thought-provoking. His imagery and creative flair illuminate every page.

Price’s novel is about a man writing a novel. The protagonist of Price’s novel is Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, a real person who did write one novel. It was a novel that Tomasi never saw published. When it was published it arguably became the greatest Italian novel of the 2oth century. Price’s re
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5* Steven Price is becoming one of my favourite authors. I love his writing which I find so elegant, and he is a master at creating setting and atmosphere. He has the ability to transport me right into the book and he did that many times over the course of this novel. Lampedusa is one of the reading hi-lights of my year.
I had such a hard time getting into this story, not sure why. It was well written but my interest lagged throughout.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the references to Palermo and other parts of Sicily, but didn't find the story interesting. Nothing much happens. Perhaps this is simply a story about living in the past, or - living while dying. When the end comes long before the actual death? What we do (and don't do) to push away the end? A metaphor for Sicily? I don't know.
Not a story told in a particularly interesting way.

The Leopard has been on my shelf for awhile. I'll turn to it soon.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
let 2020 be the year i actually listen to myself when i say don't force urself to finish books ur not feeling ! not that this was a baaaad book, but whew ... not for me . ...more
I think I might have read this at the wrong time. I picked it up because it's on the 2019 Giller shortlist, but also because I loved By Gaslight.

Like Gaslight, this oozes with atmosphere, and Price (also a poet) really knows how to turn a phrase. Characters are finely drawn, and I feel like I've been to Sicily. But, fitting to the subject matter, this is a slow, elegaic book, full of regret and sentimentality. It's never trite or unearned, but this leisurely, rather elegant book didn't capture m
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, 2020, gift
A slow read for me but not in a bad way. A beautiful story of one man, the last prince of Lampedusa, looking back at his life and observing how much it and his fortunes have changed both as a result of the war and societal changes. The relationship with his wife, adopted son and his ancestor about whom he writes a novel. There are many people who can explain properly why they like a book but I am not one of them unfortunately but I do think this is a well written and moving story.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Steven price pulls it off. Historical fiction - a book about a man writing a book. Yet, this book stands out in its own right. Beautifully written. Lyrical and measured, almost like a musical composer as described in the novel but with words. I was moved by the way Lampedusa’s love for Licy is described. I would love for a man to love me like that.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a moody, beautifully written fact based novel that imagines the final days of Giuseppi Tomasi, the author of the celebrated novel, The Leopard. Tomasi, like his fictional hero, witnesses the profound cultural changes in Sicily following World War II. The book is set in the mid 1950's. Tomasi, who still bears the anachronistic title of Prince of Lampedusa, lives in a crumbling palace with his aging princess. He learns he is suffering from a terminal disease and struggles to finish his swe ...more
Steven Langdon
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: super
Steven Price's "By Gaslight" was a complex, textured mystery story, set in the gloomy fog of urban London. This novel is very different, set mostly in Sicily, tracing the melancholy life of Giuseppi Tomasi di Lampedusa, a local prince, as he reviews his experiences over the years, in the process of setting to write an epic novel which became "The Leopard," the most popular book in postwar Italy, with wide international sales.

Lampedusa's life started from a position of privilege in the Italian no
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This beautiful biography of the author of The Leopard was hard for me to get into, but it is very evocative of Palermo and other places in Sicily. I ended up liking it a lot, but it took me a while to accustom myself to the musings of an “old” man (he was only in his 50s) who recognizes that the world has changed dramatically and he is redundant. The expectations of his cosmopolitan youth in beautiful palaces with international artists and scholars all over Europe had been crushed by both world ...more
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, giveaways
I enjoyed the book. The thoughts and feelings of this man nearing the end of his life were well written - memories of the past, regrets, failures, traumas, and some triumphs - things we all think about as we age. With death looming, it was also natural that he wanted to leave something of himself behind and that he would want to be recognized but also would wanted to do it just for himself. I did not realize he was a real person until I googled him and that made the story even more compelling. T ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian-lit
Extremely frustrating. This novel straddles the line between lyrical and lackadaisical...and often falls to both sides. For every section where I am completely drawn in, luxuriating in the detail, the ambiance, the atmosphere, the intensity...there are sections where I'm losing patience, waiting for over-long conversations to finish, and my editorial brain wanting to cut down certain scenes. I'd more than likely award this 3.5 stars, because the lyrical moments outnumber the lackadaisical...but ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Masterpiece.
Eva Stachniak
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Leopard is one of my favourite novels so I was happy to find a novel on its Sicilian author, Giuseppe Tomasi, the last prince of Lampedusa. Steven Price has written a compelling portrait of a dying man who writes a masterpiece, who finds the last taste of life in the act of creation.

Made me reread The Leopard and confirm that it is indeed a masterpiece.
Marthe Bijman
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Steven Price’s historical novel, Lampedusa, is not actually about the island of Lampedusa, which lies between Italy and the coasts of Tunisia and Libya. It is about a man to whom the island becomes a symbol of his impending death, and of the past, of time passing, and of his own lack of a legacy. In fact, in the novel he never goes to Lampedusa where his ancestors lived. The island is like a spectre, a name which comes up all the time, a landscape which strongly defines the man, in as much as th ...more
Enid Wray
Dec 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Posting on this is overdue...

I was really looking forward to this one... but I just couldn't get into it. Perhaps it's because I've never read The Leopard. Perhaps I was expecting something similar to Gaslight. Perhaps I'm just not a smart enough reader for this book.

I was bored to tears... there was nothing for me to get my teeth into or to care about to want to keep reading... so I bailed. Sorry.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel is shortlisted for the Canadian Giller Prize to be awarded in the fall of 2019. I like to read as many of the nominated books as I can so that I can enjoy the awards show and the various talk shows/podcasts that dissect the nominees.

Based on the cover synopsis I probably would not have picked this book up to read. Did I care about a dying Italian royal wanting to leave a legacy of his life? I love that the annual writing awards push me to read books that I would not naturally gravita
Erin Dillman
dnf at 60% -- I want to stress that this wasn't the book's fault, it seems as though many of it's readers fall in love with the setting and the writing and the heartache it leaves. For me, even having read The Leopard to prepare myself, I often felt disengaged and like I was lagging behind the story itself. I felt more like I was paying attention to the descriptions of place, and then like a child I would be told to keep up with the story, missing important details and emotions that might have c ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
ummmmmmm. I am super tired of these fake deep books where the author tries to show how cultured and learned he is by asking us to care about the redundant philosophizing of a 58 year old main character who can’t stop leering at young wmn and who gets weird about his own aunt’s breasts.
i understand how some ppl might have missed the VERY BRIEF (though very troubling) representation of wmn at all in this book but i didn’t and i’m mad abt it.

lovers of ian mcewan will enjoy
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Steven Price is a Canadian poet and novelist.

He graduated from the University of Victoria with a BFA in 2000, and from the University of Virginia with an MFA, in poetry.

Price's first collection of poems, Anatomy of Keys (2006), won Canada's 2007 Gerald Lampert Award for Best First Collection, was short-listed for the BC Poetry Prize, and was named a Globe and Mail Book of the Year. His first novel

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