The Leopard is the Gone with Wind of Sicily in that it documents the melancholy and ruinous effects on one character of drastic, unstoppable political and cultural changes in the surrounding area, changes that destroy the leisurely life of the landed aristocracy by both war and commerce.
I found the general sweep of the novel hard to appreciate because the author doesn’t describe or explain the historical context so much as suggest it. I did enjoy the style of writing, and greatly appreciated the wry humor, especially a sequence related to the priest Father Pirrone (see below).
I found these analyses useful:
Shmoop: The Leopard
Schmoop notes include plot summary, character descriptions, and explanations of themes, symbols, etc.
New York Times: Lampedusa’s The Leopard, fifty years on
The article notes that some have interpreted the novel as a defense of the aristocracy while others have seen it as a critique of the aristocracy.
See below for what stood out, as well as when and why I read the book.