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ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS

In a cold climate, they long for love: a newly widowed minister, a hairdresser, a bakery clerk, a restaurant manager, a hotel functionary, a cook. Once a week they take Italian lessons--even the cook, who is, in fact, Italian. The language is, after all, one of passion's vernaculars, capable of warming even these chilled and distracted souls.

One of them is bad tempered; another is terminally diffident; two are burdened with awful parents--one permanently angry, another alcoholic. The minister is losing touch with God, and frankly, the Italian woman really ought to be studying Danish so that...

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