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Lampedusa

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  189 ratings  ·  43 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 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  189 ratings  ·  43 reviews


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Jennifer
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.
Krista
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, can-con, 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
...more
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
...more
Susan
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!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4vwp3lgL...
Kathy
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
...more
MargaretDH
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
...more
Carole
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 ...more
Anna
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.
Toto
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am pleasantly surprised and very glad that this book was long-listed for 2019 Giller Prize--One of Canada's many literary awards. One may argue its biggest. Canadian book prizes love 'canlit', literature about Canada and the Canadian 'experience'. Canlit books also tend to be quite inward looking, impressionistic, and lacking in plot; this is not. It's, therefore, a welcome change and addition to the prize-lit roster, as all books are that look outward to other countries and experiences as ...more
Marcella
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. ...more
Beth
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Masterpiece.
Louise
I had such a hard time getting into this story, not sure why. It was well written but my interest lagged throughout.
Paula
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
...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
...more
Karissa Fast
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Historical fiction is not a common choice for me, but I am attempting to read all the Giller Prize shortlist books, and I started with Lampedusa.

Lush descriptions, painfully atmospheric, and undeniably literary, I can see how this book made the shortlist. The story follows the last prince of Lampedusa, whose only inheritance is a once decadent estate that has been bombed. He is past his prime, and finds out early in the book that he has a terminal illness. The novel tells the story of his
...more
Graham McKenzie
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘Lampedusa’ is an impressive achievement indeed, exploring the origins of ‘The Leopard’, and the influences on Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s life and sensibility, as well as offering a reconsideration of the great novel’s themes. One after another, the scenes are finely and deftly drawn, making this an immersive experience. The non-linear narrative works extremely well, focusing readers’ attention on the thematic concerns rather than a biographical plot. An added pleasure was the favourable ...more
Dorothy
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading "the Leopard" as a teenager while studying Italian Unification in High School and therefore I was pleased to find this novel which is a fictional account of the life of its author, Guiseppe di Lampedusa. The book is pervaded with melancholy. The story begins with Lampedusa as 59 year old man, diagnosed with TB and later with cancer. His life is recorded in brief passages and one gets the sense that he feels he has been a failure. He is the last of his line, and the family ...more
Geoffrey Kelley
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel is an imaginative trip into the creation of a famous Italian novel, “The Leopard”, published in 1959. Steven Price takes us into the imagined world of Giuseppe di Lampedusa , the last of a long line of aristocrats living out the end of his life in reduced circumstances in Palermo, Sicily. Price uses rich descriptive language to explore the life and times of the Tomasi family, its entanglements with two world wars and the arrival of modernity. In his final years, Tomasi writes a novel ...more
Bev
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A biographical novel that seeks to chronicle the last months of Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa as he suffered failing health and was inspired to write his novel "The Leopard", one of the best-selling Italian novels of the last century. Lampedusa lived through so much change -- as a prisoner of war in WWII; through the loss of several ancestral palaces and homes from bombing; living with his wife in near poverty in the decayed portion of one of these; and being childless, thus being the end of his ...more
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 ...more
Lezley
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookclub
Nominated for the Giller Prize Short list 2019
I think there should be a suggestion for readers: Read "The Leopard" before beginning this book as this book is about the life of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Although this book was set in Italy, there didn't seem to be any of the passion and spontaneity which make up so much of the Italian character (thankfully Gugno has a fit of pure passion as he murders Julia). Must admit that Steven Price has a wonderful way of describing mankind's fears and
...more
Paula
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m really not finished but I can’t renew it. Lovely but sad imagining of what the author of the great Sicilian classic, The Leopard, went through writing it. Tomasi is the last of his line. His estates are diminished and even the palace in Palermo has been destroyed in the Allied bombing. He has always known he had the makings of a writer and after receiving a diagnosis of emphysema he chooses not to tell anyone and begin to write. That’s as far as I have gotten. I will place another hold on ...more
Shan
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Read because it is Longlisted for the Giller.

It took me a while to get into this book. Maybe because I was reading it on the bus and it needed more of a long sit down? I don't know. It gave me a lot to think on in terms of mortality and it definitely is a read that pulls on your emotions as you watch a man at the end of his life struggle to leave something behind. It was an average read for me. A nice one, but average.
Margaret
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
Laurie Burns
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian
I tend to prefer contemporary stories, and this is mostly set in the 1950s.
I also find it interesting that is the only book of the Giller short list that is not set in Canada.

I thought it was okay, I guess the subject matter was new to me and I felt like I spent the whole time trying to get into it.
Linda Gaines
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such a well-written novel by a Canadian writer. I really enjoyed reading about Giuseppe Tomasi and his novel, The Leopard (which I will have to read now). All the descriptions of Sicily were lovely and all the people in this story so interesting. I like historical fiction that is based on imagination of how actual people lived and worked.
Anita
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was a challenge to finish. For me it was a book that I could easily put down and I questioned several times whether I wanted to finish it. It just did not hold my interest.
Received this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
Kate
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book. and a strong contender for this year's Giller. Set prinarily in 1950s Sicily,
it is the story of the last years of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and his process in writing his anovela The Leopard. Beautifully written, with very humam characters, this book will delight and surprise readers, especially fans of modern historical fiction.S
Cindy
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
True rating - 4.5 stars. This was a sad book, not an easy read for me, but it definitely moved me, and I was in tears by the end. I turned the last page and actually uttered “wow” out loud!! So incredibly well written with emotion just oozing from the pages.
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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
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