• The story opens at the Villa Borghese where Henry is about to be evicted as new renters from America come to look over the place.
• Henry's thoughts are fragmented in notes for his novel, a daring departure from the staid euphemisms of literature of the day.
• Henry obsesses about Tania, Sylvester's wife, on whom he has a fixation filled with wild sexual fantasies.
• All of Henry's friends are Jews for whom he has a love-hate relationship.
• His perpetual hunger and search for food is a symbol of his abject poverty in his second year in Paris.
• Henry's descriptions of Irene and Llona represent his low opinion of most women.
• Henry compares his writing (literature) to Moldorf, a dwarf he can never quite understand.
• Henry compares his artistic suffering to lying down with lions that claw and chew, looking for blood, bones, gristle, and sinews.
• Henry's desire is...
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