This charming, amusing and deft novel by a winner of the Booker Prize is set in Florence in the 1950s, though the characters might have stepped directly out of the Renaissance. The slightly eccentric characters share the trait suggested by the title, and never once does Fitzgerald strike a false note. Unique in the annals of Euro-American marital commerce is an aging count who trades his aristocratic lineage to an American in marriage and is ""left worse off than before.'' His daughter, beautiful, featherbrained Chiara, loves the solemnly scientific neurologist Salvatore, who has fled his native southern Italy and his father's deep involvement in politics; the elder is a passionate disciple of one of Mussolini's most distinguished victims. Others in a richly peopled scene include Maddalena, accurately known as Aunt Mad, and the hearty, bumptious, meddling, English schoolgirl Barney. This is a comedy of manners in the distinctively English tradition, brimming with the sweet pleasures of that high style. The novel shines with intelligence, wit, sly irony and the observant eye of a writer who seems unable to miss anything pertinent to her vocation. (April 30)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986 Release date: 01/01/1986 Genre:
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