Two short novels, from the Italian, these first person narratives have a certain disarming simplicity which offsets their ultimate bitterness, but concentrate- essentially- on the shabby side of life in which all illusion is lost. The first- The Dry Heart- tells of a young woman's marriage to Alberto, older, idle, self-centered and for many years the lover of another woman. In the years that follow her physical disgust increases- as does his boredom; she has a little girl who dies; and at the close she kills him. In the second, the title story, there is Delia, 17, in love with her cousin Nini but pregnant by another boy. Their marriage, reluctant on both sides, is followed by the death of Nini and his memory recedes... Successful in Italy, and representative of the writing of the new generation there, this will still have a literary rather than popular audience.