Historical Fiction Leopard That Fell on Me

Categories: Snow Leopard

It was really hard for me to start the novel. The genre and the writing style are not my poison of choice. But once I read a few pages, I was sucked into the ancient stories of this [Sicily] historical place. Written in 1958, The Leopard is a historical fiction set in Sicily, about the aristocratic family of Don Fabrizio Corbera, the Prince of Salina. Surrounded by destitution and authorities taking bribes, he lived a wealthy and privileged life with his family, within the walls of his palace on the island of Sicily.

But, that destitution and exploitation led him to believe that Sicily would be better off being appended by Italy, and supported his determined nephew Tancredi Falconeri, who was battling the royalist army on the island. Don Fabrizio would do anything for Sicily, even at the cost of his family. Don Fabrizio believed that Tancredi needed a fierce wife to lead Sicily into Italy, even though his own docile daughter Concetta was in love with Tancredi, who loved her back.

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However, Tancredi chose the beautiful daughter of ostentatious and uncouth Don Calgero Sedara, Angelica Sedara. Disregarding others opinion on the matter, Don Fabrizio knew where he stood within the new Sicily. It opens in 1860 with the landing in Sicily of forces intent on unifying Italy and ends in 1910, when a priest comes to assess the reliquaries of the prince’s now aged spinster daughters.

People are really hyped about the famous quote from the book said by Tancredi: ‘If we want things to stay as they are things will have to change.

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’ Though the quote is truly inspiring, what truly touched my heart and soul was the true disparity in the dialogue: ‘The Sicilians never want to improve for the simple reason that they think themselves perfect,’ the prince tells a Piedmontese aristocrat who tries to persuade him to become a senator. ‘Their vanity is stronger than their misery; every invasion by outsiders … upsets their illusion of achieved perfection.’ It made me realize that the city I just saw and presumed to be perfect, has a chip in its armor. It takes wars and new beginnings to be nearly perfect. But wherever there is habitation of humans, places can never be perfect. There are always stories – may it be true or made-up – in the history of the story. A reader just have to uncover them.

I have been fully immersed in the life of the Prince of Salina, his family and the ups and downs over 50 years. But I believe that the author’s story made the book far more interesting. Giuseppe di Lampedusa was that real prince of Lampedusa, head of the noble Sicilian house who wrote the story in less than one year after finding out that he had not long to live and struggled on it for 25 years. He died not knowing the sensation this book would become. Like a true celebrity artist, he became famous after his death. The book should be emerging as a “forgotten classic”. The cover of the book in itself screams Classic. And like some classic novels, this book also made me feel that sometimes I am not clever enough to read some books. Although, this book quotes some beautiful dialogues and I jotted them down in my Quotes and Dialogues book.

‘We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who’ll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas; and the whole lot of us, Leopards, jackals, and sheep, we’ll all go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth.’

But, on the other hand, I found this novel to be morbid and melancholic. I am a repeat reader. I read some novel multiple times, not because I didn’t understand it the first time, but because I enjoy them and would like to uncover something new every time, I re-read it. Frankly, I would not include this book in my repeat-read pile. I would like to believe that this book would be better in its original format i.e., Italian version and might have lost its value in the translation. But I think that his struggle to find a publisher was justified. Maybe because it is not the genre I would read normally, or maybe I am just not smart or well-read enough to understand the nuance and message of this book. It took me a while to get past the descriptive writing of the novel. It is definitely a good novel, don’t get me wrong on that. It is just not the type of novel I would like to read.

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Historical Fiction Leopard That Fell on Me. (2021, Dec 18). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/historical-fiction-leopard-that-fell-on-me-essay

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