Savinio (1891-1952), Giorgio de Chirico's brother, holds a place in the D'Annunzian strain of hypersensitive Italian art prose; his traffic with the great Paris surrealists of the early century (he was a painter too) adds color and a willingness to bend realistic conventions at will. This little book is the feverish record of a young boy's convalescence from a serious illness, during which his parents take him on a sea voyage (the boy is fascinated by the ship's figurehead), and then a summer vacation (including discovery of the theater and scandal). Events, such as they are, are topped off with a cyclone and the boy being washed out to sea before being rescued--an allegorical occurrence that seems to stand in for sensual awakening of a general kind. What's most interesting here is the little essay Savinio appends to the work, in which childhood as paradise is acidly questioned: ""An illusory duty and the solemn buffoonery of seriousness mask the humiliated sadness of this passage--from freedom to 'duty.'"" For connoisseurs only.