The type of avant garde novel which makes it difficult to distinguish between real and dream sequences, presumably on the theory that life is experienced both in reality and the world of phantasmagoria, into which our egos and suppressed desires mold everyday happenings. The tenuous plot centers around three 'teen age boys living with their respective families in the utmost poverty and moral lassitude which followed World War II in Italy. One lives in a bombed out palace and the others exist in semi-demolished buildings. The fifteen year old who is killed at the end of the book is the most prosperous he goes to school. Before his death he leaves his family and forsakes his friends to wander off and live with a local girl who deserts her American soldier husband to be with him. His subsequent activities in the Underground lead the militia to kill him. The two who are left grieve for him and realize that their brief and tortured childhood has died with him. (One of these has an encounter with a degenerate and the lurid qualities here are disturbing.) Rough, confused going but there may be an inner circle which will accept, even welcome, this.