From Giardina (Men With Debts, 1984), a passionate, superbly written novel about obsessive love. The 20-year-old narrator, Nick Battaglia, has just escaped a working-class Italian family in Bridgeport, Mass., to lead a life of English literature and romance at Fordham University, when he finds himself smitten with a married teaching associate, Cynthia Branner, eight years his senior. He pursues her as relentlessly as his virginity and painful uncertainties will allow, taking tutorial after tutorial on Anne Bradstreet just to be near her and proclaim his love. Nothing fazes him: the fact that she's pregnant (she later has an abortion) by sullen actor/husband, Dave; or her own protestations (certain Jesuits are becoming aware of Nick's infatuation); or the advice of his worldly, genius seducer roommate, Tommy. At last--worn down, flattered, not a little in love with him-Cynthia makes love to him in the room of Tommy's dead father in Providence, Rhode Island. But after a short time, Cynthia breaks off their bittersweet affair, vows to try to make her marriage work, and heads up to New England to try for a baby once again. In a stunner of a finale--reminiscent of Endless Love--Nick follows the couple for a confrontation. An intense and moving love story.