In a city smothering under the summer sun and an overdose of la dolce vita, Leo Gazarra spends his time in an alcoholic haze, bouncing between run-down hotels and the homes of his rich and well-educated friends, without whom he would probably starve. At thirty, he's still drifting: between jobs that mean nothing to him, between human relationships both ephemeral and frayed. Everyone he knows wants to graduate, get married, get rich—but not him. He has no ambitions whatsoever. Rather than toil and spin, isn't it better to submit to the alienation of the Eternal City, Rome, sometimes a cruel and indifferent mistress, sometimes sweet and sublime?
A slim masterpiece ... Last Summer is one of those delicious minor works, enmeshed in a particular place and a particular time, that only rarely escape the confines of a national literature and onto the commercial lists of varsity American publishers ... Beautifully translated.
Masterfully translated ... The novel is indeed very visual ... [A] short, eminently readable novel ... Despite the exquisite chatter surrounding Proust and decadence, Chandler and despair, the reigning voice in this novel is silence ... The novel feels as relevant today as it ever was.
Elegantly translated ... Last Summer in the City has the languorous disaffection of the mid-twentieth century ... It is at once bombastic and melodramatic, simultaneously passionate and ironic, thoroughly enjoyable and very much of its time ... The novel is accented with oblique romantic banter, inflected by soul-searching and artistic pretension ... The novel, like the films that it recalls, offers a seductive, stylized fantasy of life; but one that, before the advent of the internet, had real resonance ... For those of us old enough to recall such aimless, yearning days, the novel is moving in spite of its silliness.