Having spent some time in Rome, Antonio - the handsomest young man in Catania - returns to his native town with the reputation of being a playboy and with a long list of amorous adventures behind him. To please his father, Antonio agrees to marry the beautiful Barbara. A year after their marriage however - scandal erupts. Barbara is still a virgin! The bride's family attempt to annul the marriage and Antonio's honour seems irrevocably lost.
Vitaliano Brancati was born in Sicily in 1907. He became famous for Don Giovanni in Sicilia (1941), Il bell'Antonio (1949), and Paolo il caldo (1955), which satirize, with a touch of the grotesque, Italy during the Fascist years, and especially the very Italian phenomenon of gallismo (the preening male). Brancati died in Turin in 1954. Tim Parks grew up in London and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. In 1981 he moved to Italy where he has lived ever since. He has written twelve novels as well as two non-fiction accounts of life in northern Italy, and two collections of essays.