SARDINIAN SILVER, Synopsis Essentially a love story, the novel evokes the "mystery" atmosphere of Sardinia as I knew it in the 1960s, including such things as carnival, Easter, the famous "Cavalcata Sarda", the "bandit village" of Orgosolo and some of the contradictions existing in a relatively uncivilized society.
A 24-year old Englishman, Arthur Fraser, arrives in the resort town of Alghero as representative for a tourist company. Here, among others, he meets a friendly but sullenly introspective lawyer, Gavino; the staff of his hotel, particularly a tempestuous local maid, Teresa; a pedantically Catholic schoolteacher; and two representatives of rival companies: a phlegmatic Englishman (with a Sard girl-friend) and a flamboyant American, Isabelle, who constantly offends local sensibilities. Arthur's main problem in a repressive society is to find a girl for himself but, except with English tourists, he is unsuccessful.
After the arrival of his fun-loving superior, Maurice Winter, Arthur briefly returns with him to Rome to meet Margaret Morley, who is to be a new representative in another Sardinian resort, Olbia. With her there develops a bantering "flirting" relationship, but on the ship back to Sardinia Arthur meets and falls in love with a Sard now living in Rome, Anna Lorcas. After a week, however, she has to return to Rome.
Learning later that Gavino has to go there, Arthur asks him to take Anna a present, with the result that she falls in love with Gavino. The eventual arrival of Margaret in Sardinia, various excursions (Cagliari, Isola Rossa, Orgosolo), and the childlike devotion of a teen-age girl, Caterina, only make Arthur more determined to win Anna back again.
When Anna finally returns to Sardinia, Arthur finds her in her own town of Tempio, but she remains committed to Gavino, who himself comes home shortly afterwards, avoiding any attempt of Arthur's to meet. Arthur finds distraction in various girls, including at long last the maid Teresa, who is a huge, hilarious disappointment. Other events—threatening letters from a boy jealous of Caterina, a scandal created by Isabelle and her subsequent suicide attempt—make the rest of his time there uncomfortable.
Finally he leaves, regretting that he has lost not only Anna but also his former friend Gavino. At the end it is revealed that he has married Margaret: happily, although, looking back, he is still nostalgic for the spirit of adventure he once had.