OUT OF THE SQUARE by Peter de Polnay


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A circumstantially connected tracing of several lives off the square in Florence where stray children sell their black market goods, this is leisurely in its progress, sometimes satiric, ultimately affecting. Among those who alternate through the narrative are Humphrey Hatton, evading his childhood in Florence and the English girl he now loves; Hilda Pucci, who betrayed her husband to the Germans; Mrs. Crocker, rich, restless, anxious to help the poor; Minotti, an aging Italian tormented by his suspicions of his young wife; Mario, fourteen, a worldly, tricky scamp, and Giovanna, the simple-minded girl who attaches herself to Mario. By the close Mrs. Pucci expiates by confessing to the police; Minotti's cuckoldry becomes a certainty; Mrs. Crocker decides to found a home for derelict children; Hatton gives in to this love for Joan; and Mario, whose affection for Giovanna is the first in many homeless years, realizes he can no longer help her, gives her into the care of the nuns...Perhaps too modulated for the general reader, but a discerning, appealing portrayal.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1949
Publisher: Creative Age