This should be an important book; it is certainly an honest, unsophisticated, beautiful one. In a style that is at once photographic and romantic, Mr. Berto writes of a bombed town in northern Italy and of the question of survival in that town. The focal point is a group of four homeless adolescents who live together and develop a kind of imposed, reinforced maturity because the more problems of living require endless skill, stamina, and immunity to pain. (It might be considered as an Italian parallel to Neumann's unforgettable Children of Vienna (Dutton) ... The detailed relationship between these four provides one rim of the story; another rim is the bombed town, its skeleton buildings, its poverty, its hopeless people activated by the basic process of keeping alive and nothing more. The author deals not with an active war but with its after-effects on those who are left. It is not a pleasant book; rather it is a thoughtful, perceptive, realistic study of much ugliness and tragedy and some love.