Letters from London and Europe

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, trans. from the Italian by J.G. Nichols. Alma Books (TSP, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-84688-137-4
Born to an aristocratic Italian family in 1896, di Lampedusa (best known as the author of The Leopard) took advantage of his birthright by traveling through Europe. Centered around his trips from 1925 to 1930, the letters collected in this intriguing if erratic volume (translated into English for the first time), provide a snapshot of a time and place, and of the developing writer. Corresponding primarily with his cousins, di Lampedusa adopts a third-person voice and moniker (“The Monster”), wittily embellishing the sobriquet at the end of each letter with a variety of adjectives (“The super-fed Monster,” “The Alpine Monster”). The letters vary in length and interest, though the correspondence from England is particularly vibrant, and he clearly loved that country. Di Lampedusa’s love of literature and art resonates, as does a tantalizing obsession with food, cinema, and radio. An introduction and biographical note provide context, though more focused, contextual notes would have been helpful. Photos. Agent: The Wylie Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/15/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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