Places of My Infancy
Nonfiction by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Translated by Archibald Colquhoun
Lampedusa’s brief but brilliant writing career lasted a mere two years before he succumbed to lung cancer. In that time he produced one novel (The Leopard), three stories, and the beginning of a memoir, Places of My Infancy — a “tour” of Lampedusa’s family estates in Sicily at the turn of the twentieth century. “For childhood me was a lost paradise,” writes Lampedusa. “I was king of the home.” Lampedusa gives lush, intimate descriptions of the estates in town and country: one mansion with one hundred rooms, its garden with fountains full of eels, its church, its theater where wandering “country” troupes would perform, its maids and groundskeepers, and Lampedusa’s own family members. Each detail — from his mother’s silver comb to his father’s camera (owned “in 1900!") — unlocks a vivid memory.