A tough-fibered novel of the lost generation in Italy which parallels the hopeless world of The Bicycle Thief, and much of what is written today by Vittorini, Pratolini, etc. This is the generation whose youth was spent in unexployment, and who knew their first steady jobs as members of the Fascist Army when Italy followed Germany into the war. The novel's hero is the illegitimate son of a prostitute whose life changes when he falls in love with a sheltered, middle-class girl. He cultivates culture; advances to the stage where he has saved the money for a length of blue serge for a suit; and is on the way to prosperity-as a high class thief specializing in paintings- when the war breaks out. At its conclusion, more demoralized and ragged than ever, he is afraid to reawaken his interests in a hostile world that would only frustrate them, and his girl has married a Fascist. But a surprise reversal takes him to Umbria- with the girl whom he has abducted- for a new start on a farm.... The truthful portrayals, sensitive observation, and a sort of roughshod poetry born of tenderness and despair- give this its distinction. For a market, which may or may not be deafened to the rumblings of the renaissance.