You Must Change Your Life

For the last two years, I’ve been beating people over the head to read Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel, The Leopard. It’s one of my all-time faves and it turns out that E.M. Forster loved it, too. Here’s the opening of a piece he wrote in an intro to Lampedusa’s short works:

This prefatory note is a meditation rather than an introduction. Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa has meant so much to me that I find it impossible to present him formally. His great novel The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) has certainly enlarged my life — an unusual experience for a life which is well on in its eighties. Reading and rereading it has made me realize how many ways there are of being alive, how many doors there are close to one, which someone else’s touch may open. The authors was born after me and he has died before me — an unexpected sequence. He is my junior. I like to fancy that he has left me a personal legacy.

It’s one of the few books that I felt “changed my life,” and I count myself lucky that I can still have that experience in my forties. I’m glad to discover that Forster had the same experience at twice my age.

Now go read The Leopard, consarnit!

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  1. I’ve got it (a steal at $3 in Jersey City’s only bookstore), and I hope to get to it this summer.

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