Two short novels which again display much of the scrupulous realism which gave The Woman of Rome its favorable critical reception, and the explicit sexual detail which undoubtedly attracted a popular audience. These stories of two boys, Agostino and Luca, illustrate with accuracy rather than charm all that is frustrated, furtive and rather ridiculous in the adolescent --physically and intellectually inflamed by passion. Agostino suffers palpably because of his mother -- as he watches her flirtation with a young man, later spies on her, is tormented by her, repelled by her, and has the final humiliation of being turned down when he attempts to attain full masculine status. Luca, on the other hand, goes through a period of resistance and rebellion at home, indifference at school, evades seduction at the hands of his cousins' governess but finally -- after a long illness and a desire to die, is initiated by an aging nurse... There are times -- and this is one of them -- when puberty is a very unattractive age.