What a terrible disappointment. Gabriele, an interesting, traumatized young woman with dual U.S-Italian citizenship who works at a bookshop in Berkeley, California becomes powerfully intrigued by a customer named Giordano Vietri. Vietri orders from his apartment in Rome huge numbers of books on academic and mystical topics. Eventually, our protagonist feels compelled to track him down, leaving her boyfriend and aimless life in California to go to her mother’s homeland. She reconnects with family while she attempts to track down the mysterious Vietri.

He had been captured by the British in World War II, he had been the neighbor of a painter who was also a journalist and anti-fascist activist. What was he searching for in these books? Who was he?

We never know, because she decides it is less important than… I don’t know. I don’t feel I got a better answer than “I met a nice guy who is better and more mature than the young men I have been casually hooking up with.” I don’t really care who she sleeps with, though her attitude towards sex seems portrayed as being an expression of maternal trauma (her mother was schizophrenic).

I do care that this story is much less interesting than the tease of the mysterious Giordano Vietri, who is dropped as if the author got bored of writing the book looked for an excuse to end it.