Gabrielle Dubois's Reviews > The Leopard

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 20th-century

In Italy, in 1860, a decadent and impoverished aristocracy, deaf to the upheavals of the world, still reigns over Sicily. But the disembarkation of the troops of the republican Giuseppe Garibaldi who wants to reunify Italy divided into several kingdoms, initiates the overthrow of a secular social order. We enter the intimacy of the thought and the life of Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina, great landowner, aware of the threat of disappearance that hangs over his caste and his family, but who thinks more than he acts, unlike his nephew, the handsome, clever and lively Tancredi, who will fight alongside Garibaldi after announcing to his uncle and guardian:
"If we want everything to remain as it is, everything has to change."

I had seen in my youth, as the old sages say! the wonderful Visconti film from this novel, with Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon.
But the book is wonderfully written by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. It is built, limpid and deep.
From the first page, although many things happen, in the thought of the Prince, his actions and those of the characters around him, the pace adopts a torpor as heavy as the land of Sicily, as dry as its air, as overwhelming and blinding as its burning sun.

First excerpt to make you want to read this masterpiece:
One night, the Prince descends from his property to the city of Palermo. In this very Catholic Italy, landscape, countryside and cities are dotted with monasteries and convents of all orders. In the surrounding mountains, the revolutionaries of Garibaldi are organizing themselves:
"Soon it would be dark, the convents and monasteries became the despots of the panorama. It was against them, in fact, that the fires in the mountains were kindled, fanned by men who were entirely like those who lived in convents, equally fanatical, equally closed-minded, just as eager to power, that is to say, as usual, idleness."

Second excerpt showing the fine writing of Lampedusa:
"Although the Administration was the place where the greatest trivialities were accomplished, its appearance was a severe austerity. "

Third excerpt, the Prince talks to Father Pirrone:
"We are not blind. We live in a mobile reality to which we seek to adapt as seaweeds bend under the pressure of the sea. Immortality has been promised to the Holy Church; to us, as a social class, it hasn’t. For us, a palliative that promises to last a hundred years is equivalent to eternity."

Fourth excerpt: Men go by, societies crumble, powers change hands, but the world remains basically the same:
"The great lords were reserved and incomprehensible; the peasants were explicit and clear; but the Demon deceived them all the same way."

PS: I read this book in French, and quotes are translated by myself, so don't judge Lampedusa's writing by reading them!
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Reading Progress

May 3, 2018 – Started Reading
May 3, 2018 – Shelved
May 9, 2018 – Shelved as: 20th-century
May 9, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge Love your review.


Gabrielle Dubois Book Concierge wrote: "Love your review."

Thank you!


message 3: by Laurene (new)

Laurene Wonderful review!


Gabrielle Dubois Laurene wrote: "Wonderful review!"

Thank you, Laurene!


message 5: by Fran (new)

Fran Excellent review, Gabrielle!


Gabrielle Dubois Fran wrote: "Excellent review, Gabrielle!"

Thank you, Fran.


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