Giovanna's pretty face has changed: it's turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. More like her Aunt Vittoria's every day, her father says. But is she seeing things as they really are? Will she truly turn out like her despised aunt, the woman her parents have spent their lives avoiding and deriding? Where must she look to find her true reflection and a life she can claim as her own? Giovanna's search takes her to two kindred cities which fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. Adrift, she vacillates between these two cities, falling into one then climbing back to the other. But neither city seems to offer her any answers.