Books: Fascist Adolescent

THE RED CARNATION (244 pp.)—Elio Vittorini—New Directions ($3).

The critics are pretty much agreed that Elio Vittorini is a novelist to reckon with. In Sicily and The Twilight of the Elephant even brought him a plug from Ernest Hemingway: "One of the very best of the new Italian writers." His U.S. publishers believe that The Red Carnation, too, is "a fine example of Italy's incredible literary renaissance." But pinning down just what is good in Vittorini's novels takes a little more saying.

To most readers, The Red Carnation will seem to be simply a tale of adolescent love, writ in neon. Hero Mainardi...

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