Giuseppe Guaraldi (jew-SEHP-peh gwah-RAHL-dee), a writer and scholar, approaching age fifty, who has just ended a long love affair with Lucrezia, a married woman. He sells his apartment against the advice of his friends, leaves his job, and moves to Princeton, New Jersey, to live with his older brother. He imagines an idyllic life with his brother that will provide him with the security he needs after the end of his affair. Instead, he finds that, shortly before his arrival in Princeton, his brother has married Anne Marie, a colleague from the scientific institute where he works. Giuseppe views the marriage as an intrusion and begins writing a novel to keep himself from being lonely. At first, he dislikes Anne Marie immensely, but, upon the sudden death of his brother, he begins to feel an affinity for her that eventually leads to marriage. Although he and Lucrezia had a child together, Giuseppe has never acknowledged his son and concentrates on the child of his previous marriage, Alberico, and on Anne Marie’s daughter, Chantal, and her husband, Danny. When Alberico is murdered by drug dealers, Giuseppe returns to Italy for the funeral and realizes how little he has been connected to his life there.
Lucrezia (lew-KREH-zee-ah), Giuseppe’s former lover. Although she has been married to Piero for many years and they have five children together, Lucrezia has had a number of affairs. At the end of her relationship with Giuseppe, she begins an affair with Ignazio Fegiz, an annoying know-it-all with whom she becomes obsessed. She feels restless after her long-term relationship with Giuseppe and uses Ignazio as the means to extricate herself from the country house her friends have used as a symbol of stability in their relatively rootless lives. She is an unsatisfied woman for whom the role of wife and mother has paled, although, in the eyes of her friends, she has performed it beautifully. After she leaves Piero, she finds a dark and...
(The entire section is 860 words.)