The narrator, a young man of age twenty (at the time of the main events of the story), a member of a middle-class Jewish family of Ferrara and a student of literature at the University of Bologna. He is becoming aware of the impact of Fascism on his family and on all Jews. Sensitive and sympathetic to the trials of other Jews, yet barely grasping what the growing anti-Semitism of the Fascist regime may mean to Italian Jews, he witnesses the torments of Dr. Fadigati, who is in his own way just as much an outsider as the narrator is going to be in Italian Fascist society.
Dr. Athos Fadigati
Dr. Athos Fadigati (AHT-ohs fah-dee-GAH-tee), an ear, nose, and throat specialist who came from Venice and settled in Ferrara. Middle-aged and overweight, Fadigati became somewhat of a society doctor, for a time, until his penchant for young men became known. He takes one of the narrator’s friends to Riccione, on the Adriatic Sea, for a vacation, and is more or less despised by other families. As an outsider, he attracts the narrator’s pity, especially when the boy whom Fadigati takes to the seashore absconds with all of Fadigati’s money. The doctor by then has lost much of his fashionable clientele, and eventually he takes his own life.
Eraldo Deliliers (ehr-AHL-doh...
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