A postwar Italian novel which falls far short of Silone's Fontamara with which it is compared, and similarly is disappointing viewed against the distinction of such films as Shoe Shine, The Open City and Paisan. Mr. Pratolini has packed a tiny street in Florence with a parade of characters and the effect is claustrophobic rather than microcosmic...The action is centered in the middle '20's, in the small, poverty-striken area of the Via del Corno, where men like Lando, a sniveling pimp, are alternating in and out of prison; where the Signora, a retired, diseased ex-prostitute, turned Lesbian, battens on young girls; where Maciste, a blacksmith, is killed by Fascists because he is a Communist; where the Nesi, coal merchant, brutalizes any woman that appeals to him; where everybody goes to bed with everybody else; and where the neighbors lean out of windows and exchange unsavory gossip avidly. The couple of good characters are well hidden in the mire. In an effort to make his novel tight, the author has attempted to squeeze a galaxy of ""universal"" types into too small an area and the result belongs in the Department of Utter Confusion. It lacks light, air, space, and in his effort to be significant, Pratolini succeeds only in being trite.