Penelope Fitzgerald (Author) Julian Barnes (Introduction by)


"A delectable comedy of manners." --Boston Globe

The Ridolfi are a Florentine family of long lineage and little money. It is 1955, Italy is still struggling back after the war, and the family, like its decrepit villa and farm, has seen better days. Among the Ridolfi, only eighteen-year-old Chiara shows anything like vitality. But it's a vitality matched by innocence--a dangerous combination, to herself and to all who love her.

Chiara sets her heart on the bull-headed Salvatore, a brilliant young doctor from the south who resolved long ago to be emotionally dependent on no one. Stymied, she calls on her resourceful English girlfriend, Barney, to help her make the impossible match. And so ensues a comedy of errors, in which guileless lovers, with the best of intentions, considerable charm, and the kindest of instincts, succeed in making one another thoroughly and astonishingly miserable.

"An exquisite mosaic, where every tiny piece is part of a world." --A. S. Byatt, Threepenny Review

Product Details

Mariner Books
Publish Date
October 14, 2014
5.2 X 1.0 X 7.9 inches | 0.65 pounds
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About the Author

PENELOPE FITZGERALD (1916-2000) was one of the most elegant and distinctive voices in British fiction. She won the National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction for The Blue Flower, the Booker Prize for Offshore, and three of her novels -- The Bookshop, The Gate of Angels, and The Beginning of Spring -- were short-listed for the Booker Prize.


Clever and dangerously beguiling. The Los Angeles Times

As intoxicating as a shot of aged brandy . . . a true sensualist's feeling for Italy. The Washington Post

The fullest and richest of her novels. Time Magazine