On Our Shelves (as of this morning) Published:
"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change" is the keynote paradox propounded by Tancredi Falconeri to his uncle, Prince Fabrizio Salina, as the young impoverished nobleman goes to join the Garibaldini to fight for an independent Sicily and a unified Italy. Don Fabrizio is taken aback; he, after all, lives his life on a Copernican paradigm, with himself at the center of the universe. Tancredi is representative of a Darwinian world, with his ability to adapt to changing circumstances, such that we modern readers, unlike the prince, are occasioned no surprise when Tancredi renounces the sans culottes for a position of power in the new regime. Tancredi rises to ever greater heights, while Don Fabrizio is left in melancholy contemplation of the passing of an old order which he knows was unworthy of mourning.
This is an absolutely wonderful, elegiacal work, leavened throughout with moments of great humor.