*Turin. Principal city of northwestern Italy’s Piedmont region that provides the narrator, Corrado, with his occupation and his status as an intellectual; however, both the city and Corrado are threatened by wartime instability. Corrado’s work as a schoolteacher, as well as the school where he teaches, are given only a shadowy identity. Despite the increasingly difficult situation in Turin, Corrado’s description of the city is remote. The city is the only place where Corrado admits the possibility of love; however, two early affairs in Turin have left him with unhappy memories, and much of the early part of the novel concerns his attempt to redeem the rashness and futility of an early relationship with Cate, a former lover from Turin’s suburbs whom he meets again by chance after eight years.
House on the hill
House on the hill. Place outside Turin where Corrado seeks safety from air raids on the city. The relative safety of the distant suburban hills moves many people to spend their nights outside the city in temporary quarters. Corrado takes lodgings in a hilltop owned by Elvira, a middle-aged woman who tends his needs with an anxiety that betrays her interest in marrying him. Although the hill on which Elvira’s house stands is only one hill location among many, it is the one that best allows Cesare Pavese to illuminate his character’s ambivalence about the Italian political landscape, by showing...
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