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Fiction. Translated from the Italian by Joachim Neugroschel. "Set during WW II, this is the first novel to appear in English by the celebrated Italian author of Words in Commotion and Other Stories. The narrator, an outlaw, takes refuge in an odd mountain manor occupied by an elderly nobleman and his two ferocious wolfhounds. The renegade's curiosity is awakened when he sees a turn-of-the-century painting of an alluring woman, and hears 'faint breathing' in his room at night and suspiciously light footsteps on a staircase. Ignoring the wishes of his host, he explores what he perceives to be a ghostly presence in the mansion. This riveting tale packs multiple surprises, with piercingly nightmarish imagery and intense, lonely characters tormented by private passions and obsessions. Landolfi (1908-79) masterfully evokes mood by engaging the senses: 'By now, it was the dead of night; a stiff, wet wind had risen, increasing the havoc that the dampness had wrought on me.... All around me, I heard the huge trees twisting and soughing furiously'"--Publishers Weekly.