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The Leopard: Complete & Unabridged (Cover to Cover) Audio Cassette – Unabridged, 23 Nov 2000


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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Cover to Cover Cassettes Ltd; Unabridged edition (23 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855494752
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855494756
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,229,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Every once in a while, like certain golden moments of happiness, infinitely memorable, one stumbles on a book or a writer, and the impact is like an indelible mark. Lampedusa's The Leopard, his only novel, and a masterpiece, is such a work" (Independent)

"Perhaps the greatest novel of the century" (L.P. Hartley)

"One of the great lonely books...not a historical novel, but a novel which happens to take place in history" (E.M. Forster)

"The poetry of Lampedusa's novel flows into the Sicilian countryside...a work of great artistry" (Peter Ackroyd)

"I was astounded by the power of the writing" (Corin Redgrave) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

This is the new, revised edition which includes recently discovered new material including letters and diary entries by the author and two additional sections of the novel.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Colin Martyr on 5 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
The book opens with a languid but elegant intoduction to the leisured life of Fabrizio, Prince of Salina, a Sicilian princeling of the 1860s. Oh dear, I thought, after reading a few pages. Is this one of those books that has acquired a grand self-perpetuating reputation, a book you have to call a work of genius because everybody else does? At that point, like a boxer delivering a jab, Di Lampedusa casually throws in an account of the recent discovery in the palace gardens of the corpse of a royalist soldier, nailing down every repellent detail a split second before it occurs to the reader - the scrabbling hands, the spilt intestines, the desperation of death... No, I thought, they're right.

A few minutes research on, say, Wikipedia, into the origins, nature and ultimate fate of the "Kingdom of the Two Sicilies" whose turbulent decline forms the landscape outside the palace walls is well repaid. Di Lampedusa certainly had the powers to delineate the "risorgimento" - the Italian war of unification - on the epic scale but chose to look at it, so to speak, down the other end of the telescope. This book could sit well with War and Peace as a document of human conflict but Di Lampedusa, being a brilliant miniaturist, keeps the soldiery offstage and the seat of the action is the inner world of Prince Fabrizio. I can hardly think of a character in literature so fully realised.

Fabrizio's central dilemma is this. On the political level he has sufficient acuteness to appreciate that the conversion of Italy from a ramshackle collection of teetering monarchies into a liberal, bourgeois whole may be as much a relief as a threat.
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98 of 100 people found the following review helpful By S Hines on 24 Jan. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while you stumble upon a book so magical, so beautifully and carefully written and so engrossing that the boundaries of what you thought were great literature are so rendered pointless that you reassess your opinions on all of the books you have read before. Lampedusa's 'The Leopard' is one such book. It was on reading an interview with Martin Scorcese about the birth of the mafia in Scicily that the book was brought to my attention; it is with a huge debt of gratitude that I tracked it down and dove into its beautiful depths. Never has a book moved me and made me thirst for more as this. The central character, Fabrizio, is a masterful creation; in turns a swaggering relic of the past and pathetic and useless bulwark against the onslaught of modernity encapsulated by Garibaldi. The pathos which threads through the novel is perfectly mirrored by the knowledge that Lampedusa wrote no more than this; a tragedy, which qualifies this as the greatest novel of the 20th Century. If you love literature, life and great works of art, read this.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By PJ Nasser on 24 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Leopard is a strange novel. It was the only book written and published by Giovanni Tomasi di Lampedusa, last scion of a decadent Sicilian noble family. He wrote it towards the end of an indolent life and didn't live to see it brought into the world by the publishing house, Feltrinelli. It doesn't have a plot; to recount what happens would make it sound like a biography leavened with social history. It is a book about an aristocrat by an aristocrat recalling the passing of an age of aristocracy, and yet one that would have made a lot of sense to the Marxist literary culture of 1950s Italy. Its outlook is one of weary disillusionment that holds out little hope of social improvement or even personal contentment. It sounds dreadfully depressing, doesn't it? Lampedusa himself said once, "It is, I fear, rubbish." Actually, it is neither.

At its heart, there is one character: Fabrizio Corbero, Prince of Salina, The Leopard. It is in the portrayal of this man, and through his eyes, that of Sicily and its people that the quality of The Leopard lies. Lampedusa's eye is very sharp and sensitive to the smallest fluctuations of mood and motive, to the currents of history that pass through, or by, the characters and to the contradictions that sit comfortably together in every moment. One example of many. Salina is out hunting with the parish priest and they bring down a rabbit. They are out of sight of any human habitation in a land that would have looked the same to the Phoenicians, Dorians and Ionians 2,000 years before. The two hunters approach the fatally wounded prey and Don Fabrizio is fixed upon by "eyes that showed no reproof, but were full of a stunned shock towards the whole order of things ...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. A. Ellett Iolite on 8 July 2007
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written, this book kept me hooked with a moving story of the fading powers and fortunes of Sicilian aristocracy amid the fast-changing powers and politics of Italy in the late 1800's.

I found it a deeply reflective book with many metaphors for our changing world today - and the impact of changing old regimes for new - class systems, ruling powers, business politics, different generations of people.

The characters feel real and timeless, and the book helps in understanding Sicilian culture and history and why the once-beautiful palaces were left to crumble.

The writing often appears to ramble-off in different directions with the abstract thinking of the characters - which at first I found a weakness of the book - but now I think this is its' strength - as you get inside the heads of the characters and realise their weaknesses, hang-ups and sources of despair.

The book has tremendous balance of light and dark - 'light' with flashes of beauty describing a garden, joy at dogs playing, decriptions of rooms, furnishings and food (described so well I could taste), situations or characters that made me laugh out loud - 'dark' with brooding passion, doom and depression, empty rooms in fading palaces with dark pasts, forgotten gardens, rotting corpses, death and decline. Many of the words and themes from the book remain with me post-reading - the book is meaningful and affected me at a deeper level.

The film of the book, however visually lavish, I found disappointing in comparison with the book itself.
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