A compelling and sexy novella which tells the story of a love affair between a young man and an older woman. He, the narrator, is a twenty-one-year-old American art student travelling the world. She is a countess - apparently cold, haughty and inaccessible. And with her is the doctor, Haroun, her gay travelling companion. When he makes their acquaintance at the Palazzo d'Oro, the narrator finds himself filled with unexpected lust and playing a part in something he doesn't quite understand. Finally, aged 60, he returns to Taormina to tell his story.