Triple view

The titular Two Friends in Alberto Moravia’s trilogy of novellas are Sergio, an intellectual Communist who is enthusiastic about the latter and abhors being referred to as the former, and Maurizio, an anti-Communist who calls Sergio an intellectual. They appear in each of the book’s three sections—independent novellas—while a woman named Nella is in the first and third, and a woman named Lalla is in the second. Each provides a different perspective on Italian society during World War II or just after, and illustrates how two men from different socioeconomic classes became friends—and remained so—despite their disparate political beliefs. Translated from the Italian by Marina Harss, edited from manuscripts found after Moravia’s death, with an introduction and textual notes, Two Friends lets us view Moravia’s creative process as he searches for the mode by which to convey the story.