... six long short stories come to collective roost related by their titles-the names of birds, and their themes--the various forms love takes. The author has the facility of long practice. His light-to-delicate observations are most successful with people not quite engaged in the world of the living and working--the fragile young men, the retired, the self-exiled. Italy, a favorite setting for Mr. Roberts over the years, is a recurrent one for the stories here. A bird is central to each. It is the repository of guilt in The Green Budgerigar that the young widower felt over the death of the rich wife who had been 42 years his senior. It is the decoration on the hat of the widow who rescues a widower from his loneliness in The Swallow. It is the unusual, self-tamed family pet in The Pelican. The dialogue is very shaky when Americans are made to open their mouths but the author's touch is as firmly sentimental as ever.