By David Brooks
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Brimming with mystery, confessions, food, and philosophy, this novel tells the tale of two strangers who meet in a restaurant in the Italian city of Trieste. Stephen, an Australian engineer living in Paris, and Irena, an Italian translator, share a meal and exchange stories in an atmosphere of geniality and refinement. As the story gradually unfolds in conversation, the two reflect upon culture, language, history, art, love and desire, and share all of the thoughts and sensations that strike an Australian in Europe. Filled with whimsy and the romantic exotica of an Italian setting, this mysterious plot makes for a wonderfully entertaining read that effortlessly balances substance with style.