Books: Return of the Native

THE MOON AND THE BONFIRES (206 pp.)—Cesare Pavese—Farrar, Straus & Young ($3).

Cesare Pavese is the latest of the younger Italian novelists to be published in the U.S.—and the latest to be found looking at life in despair. In the last 40 pages of his novel, a Piedmontese peasant tramples his mistress and mother-in-law to death, sets fire to his hut, and hangs himself. An unmarried girl becomes pregnant, has an abortion and dies. Her half-sister turns prostitute and plays informer to both the Fascists and the partisans; she winds up in front of a machine gun and her body is burned...

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