Written in 1949 and published shortly before his suicide, Cesare Pavese’s last novel provides a strongly evocative, but detailed and concrete picture of life in the Piedmontese hills, seen through the eyes of a returned American immigrant. However, its main interest does not lie in its realism, a mode of writing which Pavese himself rejected. Instead, the novel’s focus is on deeper levels of experience, the mysterious underlying continuities beneath the changing surface of life. In seeking to go beyond the limits set by the conventions of realism, the book combines an account of everyday life with a sense of its hidden dimensions. This edition contains a revised and expanded introduction to the novel, focusing particularly on the combination of realism and symbolism or myth that characterizes Pavese’s writing. The edition also contains a bibliography, notes and vocabulary which should serve to make the text more readily accessible to students at both the high school and university level.