From the back cover
The glitter and cynicism of Rome under Mussolini provide the background for Alberto Moravia's twentieth-century masterpiece The Woman of Rome. Adriana, a simple girl with no fortune but her beauty, models naked for a painter, accepts gifts from men, and could never quite identify the moment when she traded her private dream of home and children for the life of a prostitute. The Woman of Rome is also the story of the tortured university student Giacomo, a failed revolutionary who refuses to admit his desire for Adriana; of the sinister figure Astarita, a big shot with the political police who is obsessed with Adriana; and of the coarse and brutal criminal Sonzogno, who treats Adriana as his private property. Within this drama of passion, mystery and betrayal, Moravia calmly strips away the pride and arrogance hiding the corrupt heart of Italian Fascism.