Amazon.com description: Product Description
: How well do we know other people - even when we all belong to a small ex-pat community in a foreign capital? Allan Massie's edgy and disturbing study of English-speaking alcoholics living in Rome examines this great literary theme - and does much more besides. The broken people who inhabit this stark and inventive novel live their intense and meaningful relationships a few steps removed from the noise and bustle of the host community that surrounds them - a sympathetically portrayed backdrop, whose ""noises off"" remind the reader of a steadier, less isolated world beyond the central characters, whose obsessions we follow through a vibrant, fast-paced and compelling dialogue. The words and thoughts of these characters in most cases reveal not so much self-interest as the total isolation of the human self, but the author's acute analysis is mitigated by moments of tenderness and humor.