Like Colm Tóibín’s The Master or Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, a novel about art and writing in the life of one of the greats
Set in a sun-drenched Sicily, among the decadent Italian aristocracy of the late 1950s, Steven Price’s Lampedusa explores the final years of Giuseppe Tomasi, the last prince of Lampedusa, as he struggles to complete his only novel, The Leopard.
In 1955, Tomasi was diagnosed with advanced emphysema; shortly after, he began work on a novel that would fail to be published before his death four years later. When The Leopard at last appeared, it won Italy’s Strega Prize and became the greatest Italian novel of the century.
Adhering intensely to the facts of Tomasi's life but moving deep into the mind of the author, Lampedusa inhabits the complicated interior of a man facing down the end of his life and struggling to make something of lasting worth while there is still time.
Giller Prize - Nominee
APPROACHING THE MONSTER
In his smaller library he kept a broken white rock, like a twist of coral, taken by a sugar merchant from the natural harbour at Lampedusa. In the afternoons he would hold that rock to the sunlight...
Praise for Lampedusa
“Price vividly recreates an Italy transitioning from postwar austerity to the beginnings of La Dolce Vita, juxtaposing crumbling palazzos with sleek, supercharged sports cars… Readers will savor this rich look at Italian history.” —Publishers Weekly
“A lyrical and sensitive portrait of a man nearing the end of his life.” —KIRKUS Reviews
"Wonderful as the passages about the writing of The Leopard are, the deeper story in Lampedusa is about a dying man reckoning with his life. . . . an unsparing yet tender portrait that makes Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa as compelling as his great novel." —Wendy Smith, The Washington Post
“Price’s imaginative reconstruction of Tomasi’s work avoids hagiography and humanizes a literary master, while also depicting the agony and urgency of writing.” —Booklist
"The prose is superbly controlled, richly textured, brimming with wise and lyrical insights that make it a worthy heir to its mighty predecessor." —Joseph Luzzi, The New York Times Book Review
"Lampedusa is a beautiful novel, lyrical and wise." —David Gilmour, Financial Times