The Leopard, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


INCLUDES RECENTLY DISCOVERED NEW MATERIAL In the spring of 1860, Fabrizio, the charismatic Prince of Salina, still rules over thousands of acres and hundreds of people, including his own numerous family, in mingled splendour and squalor.

Then comes Garibaldi's landing in Sicily and the Prince must decide whether to resist the forces of change or come to terms with them.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780099512158

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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

It is a wonderful book that recreates beautifully a world that no longer exists by someone who was part of that world. The characters are so vividly portrayed and with such detail that you feel, while reading, that you have known the various characters for a long time. I highly recommend it. I have read it several times and always keep a copy in my library.

Review by

This book was recommended – handed, actually - to me by a bloke in Oxfam, during an otherwise fruitless browse of their bookshelves. Being too polite (and curious) to dismiss someone’s reading recommendation when the book in question was only 79 shiny pence, I did my bit for charity and bought the proffered copy and the unmistakable aroma of other people’s houses that came with it. However, not having a clue what it was about, once home, it took a long time for it to work its way up from the bottom of my pile o’ books, and it was almost six months after Mr. Random Gent bestowed his blessing upon it that I heaved the sigh one reserves for books one doesn’t expect to get into, and got down to it.<i>The Leopard</i> is a rare creature (on my bookshelves, at least); Sicilian historical fiction. It chronicles the fortunes of the Prince of Salina’s family, their romances, distractions and exquisitely ordered lives during the Italian Unification, particularly those of the principal character, Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina, mathematician and astronomer, as he comes to understand what current events mean for the future of the aristocracy and his family.Despite a tendency towards the depressive, this is a rather beautiful book… I might be biased after encountering the word ‘Squirearchy’, but translated or not, the writing brings perfectly into mind the elegance, ostentation, and fragility of the Salina family’s world. It is full of sad, warm affection, set perfectly against the cool march of history.Definitely worth reading. My thanks to the nice man in Oxfam. (I hope your daughter enjoyed playing with her Barbie horse).

Review by

This was a book that I came to via a culinary program on BBC4 that sought to recreate some of the meals described in the novel. It was an absolutely terrific read, the best book I have read in a while. The historical content was interesting without becoming tedious, and the characters, principally Don Fabrizio (The Leopard himself), were wonderfully imagined/remembered. The book really managed to evoke time and place incredibly vividly, and Lampedusa clearly understood his historical surroundings very clearly. The elaborate use of metaphors was very interesting, and masterfully carried out. My favorite part was most definitely Part VII, and all the sections with Berdico, the Prince's faithful dog. The only disappointment for me was the final chapter, Relic's, which seemed a little less powerful than the rest, functioning as I saw it more as a coda than a climax to the novel. The accompanying Appendix and Forward in my edition were very enlightening, and revealed some interesting details about the author, and his work. I would very much like to read the novel in the original Italian, as I believe (as is suggested in the Translators Note) that in the language in which it was conceived it would be even more exquisite. All things considered, a truly great book.

Review by

I saw the Visconti film adaptation of this back in October 2013, and liked it enough to think it worth reading the novel on which it was based. Which is, according to Wikipedia, “considered one of the most important novels in modern Italian literature”. The story takes place in the 1860s on Sicily, during the unification of Italy. It’s about the Salina family, particularly the head of the family, Prince Fabrizio, who represents the old order, and his nephew and putative heir, Prince Tancredi, who first joins Garibaldi’s Redshirts and then the army of the king of Sardinia (who goes onto become king of Italy). While the family is holidaying in their palace at Donnafugata, Tancredi meets Angelica, daughter of the local mayor (a successful and corrupt local landowner), and marries her. When Fabrizio is asked to join the new kingdom’s senate, he refuses and recommends the mayor, as he considers him more in tune with the coming times. There’s a Lawrentian atmosphere to much of The Leopard – especially when Prince Fabrizio goes hunting while at Donnafugata – but it’s also a much more political novel than anything Lawrence wrote. Now I want to watch the film again.

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