A short novel in translation from the Italian which slides over the surfaces of experience, remembering here, noticing there, questioning often by implication as young Marzia grows up in a fatherless household, communicating most freely with herself. Nor does she realize how much is unsaid and unacknowledged between herself and her mother, a lawyer, until she chooses her own, different vocation and until she attends her mother through the long days and even longer nights of a racking death -- cancer. And comes to realize how much is lost or perhaps not even exchanged between people who love. . . . Ms. Lavagnino invests this tentative reconnaissance with gentleness and, superficially, the darting detail lends a young, febrile animation.