THE CHILDREN'S TRAIN encompasses Post-World War II Italy from the mind of a child fearfully separated from his mother in Naples and sent to live among Communist families in Northern Italy.
Many themes are introduced. The shame of poverty, as seven year old Amerigo searches the streets and alleys for rags that his mother can sell, is represented by the condition of people's shoes. Abandonment by an unknown father affects his self esteem and social development.
Amerigo's confidence begins to grow as he is accepted and loved by people up North where he finally has enough food, decent clothes, and real new shoes.
His talent as a violin player is discovered and nurtured.
All this is taken away when he returns home to his mother, forcing him to flee back up North. Eventually, he becomes a famous musician.
The fascinating story, with many disparate views of politics, reads smoothly until his mother dies. His feelings reveal both a strange need to keep lying needlessly and intense "I - I -I" self concern as he prepares to leave his poor nephew with nothing.