This is an excellent book. It was written in the 1950's but is set primarily during the Italian unification of the 1860's. It is about the end of the old Italian way of life, and in particular of the traditional Sicilian aristocracy. It would be tempting to claim that it is a eulogy for that way of life, but that's not really so. It takes a deeply empathetic look at that life warts and all. It's not interested in the new Italy, but remains focused on the old.
The characterization is marvellous and the book focuses on a few defined occasions and incidents. It has a wonderful power of observation and the language is smooth and flowing. It's also very subtle and clever.
A great book that more than lives up to its reputation.