Like Visconti's film The Leopard, this magnificent novel paints in sensuous colours the story of a family. It brings to new life the ancient disparaged south of the Italian peninsula, weakened by emigration, silenced by fascism. ccording to family legend, David Pittagora died as a result of a duel. His death is the mysterious pivot around which his grand- daughter, an independent modern woman, constructs an imaginary memoir of her mother's background and life. She follows the family as they emigrate to New York - where they find only humiliation and poverty - and after their return to Italy in the early 1920's. As she is drawn by the passions and prejudices of her own imagination, we see how family memory, like folk memory, weaves its own dream.
Marina Warner spent her early years in Cairo, and was educated at a convent in Berkshire, and then in Brussels and London, before studying modern languages at Oxford. She is an internationally acclaimed cultural historian, critic, novelist and short story writer. From her early books on the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc, to her bestselling studies of fairy tales and folk stories, From the Beast to the Blonde and No Go the Bogeyman, her work has explored different figures in myth and fairy tale and the art and literature they have inspired. She lectures widely in Europe, the United States and the Middle East, and is currently Professor in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex. She was appointed CBE in 2008. www.marinawarner.com