"What if Salo is bombed?” “It won’t be. At least it hasn’t been.” “Why not? Mussolini is here.” “It would be a waste of ammunition. Ask yourself: which is more important, Mussolini or a locomotive.”
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“Did you know that the violin was invited in Salo? Remarkable place.”
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“Brother Cenzo, what is it like under the stars on the Venice lagoons? What’s the biggest fish you ever saw?” “An anchovy. Before it split into ten thousand fish.”
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It wasn’t clear whether he was in over his head or “just smart enough to fool the fish,” as his father used to say.
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“How did she escape?” “She swam across the lagoon.” “Nobody swims across the lagoon.” “Byron did.” Dante’s stare gave way to a smile and he closed his notebook. “So they say.” “That’s impossible,” the Spaniard said. “Not only impossible, but in iambic tetrameter,” Dante said. “ ‘She walks in beauty, like the night/ Of cloudless climes and starry skies … ‘ Perhaps it should have been ‘She swims in beauty …’ ”

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