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.