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Found 1 result

  1. By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa This might be the saddest book I've ever read. It's kinda heart breaking. It begins in 1860 and introduces us to Don Fabrizio, the Prince of Salina. We follow his life and that of his children and his nephew Tancredi during the period of the reunification of Italy under Garibaldi. The language is so rich and fluid and provides a sumptuous picture of Sicily until you can almost feel the sun on your back and hear the waves crashing below. Occasionally, the writing is a little dense and meandering and lost my interest a little but when it worked, it really was quite beautiful and lyrical. Don Fabrizio is an aristocrat with ties to the past but equally embraces the changes taking place at the time (especially encouraged by his progressive nephew Tancredi). Concetta, his daughter, is in love with Tancredi and for a moment it seems as though he's interested in her but then we are then introduced to the beautiful Angelica, daughter of an up and coming member of Sicilian society (new money). She is described as being quite exquisite, mesmerising everyone. Tancredi is also impressed by her beauty and the two soon begin a relationship to the delight of Don Fabrizio. The novel then jumps ahead. We see more of their lives. Garibaldi is successful. Tancredi and Angelica marry. Then we jump ahead further. And again and again. Then Don Fabrizio dies. Then comes the final chapter set in 1910 when Concetta is in her 70s and Tancredi is dead. Then we discover something. And it's heart breaking. Despite some of the writing being a little dense, this is one of the most amazing explorations of death, mortality, the loss of traditions, the passage of time, the inevitability of mortality, the dying of passion, and the blindness of youth, I've ever read. The major theme is that of wasting our lives, losing them to time. It reminded me of Atwood's Blind Assassin in many ways (she owes a lot to this book) though her book hits you over the head with its themes and doesn't come close to this level of genius. Lampedusa takes a far more subtle and brilliant look at the fragility of human existence. This book doesn't tell you that it's a question of living for the moment or that you shouldn't waste your life; it tells you that living for the moment is impossible. That we will all, in some way, waste our lives. Poor Concetta.
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