FICTION: The YEAR'S BEST

THE LEOPARD, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. The author, a Sicilian prince, did not live to see his book published and become a bestseller in both Europe and the U.S. The hero is his own autocratic great-grandfather; in grave, glowing prose the story tells how Sicily's great landowners were brought low by revolution and their own stubborn resistance to change. Probably Italy's finest postwar novel.

THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, by Nikos Kazantzakis. To this excellent Greek writer, God and man were one. His last book, a biographical novel of Christ, reflects the spiritual torment of the man who wrote it....

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