This long conversation addressed to the author's dead brother is more properly called a groping attempt at communication than a novel. When their mother died just after the birth of the second son, the two Florentine brothers were separated--the beautiful infant to be brought up in the household of a wealthy benefactor, and the older boy by his poor grandmother. Recalling their various meetings, the author seeks the loving contact that ought to exist between fraternal kin and finds first a rich boy's superiority, then an awkward adolescent's willing ignorance, and eventually, a man of the same breed as himself. As grown men, the brothers discover their common bond and their love for one another. But only when his brother dies does the author realize his failure to understand him as a person--a sensitive soul, tortured by the cleft between his upbringing and his nature. Through an emotional microscope the older brother examines his love and his failure. Kennedy's translation is easy, almost over-simple, but the feeling is sincere and personal--an arresting, if unexciting, glimpse into the vagaries of brotherly love.