Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The main character, a white American named David, leaves his motherless family for Paris. There, while his girlfriend Hella travels through Spain, he becomes involved with an Italian bartender named Giovanni. His relationship with Giovanni throws into question his sexual identity, though he never articulates an explicit declaration of being homosexual. After Hella returns to Paris, the narrator leaves Giovanni, who thereafter falls into disrepute. After Giovanni murders the rich bar proprietor, Guillaume, who tries to exert sexual domination over Giovanni in exchange for a job, Giovanni is sentenced to the guillotine. The narrator maintains intractable feelings of guilt for his role in Giovanni's demise. From their apartment in southern France, the narrator leaves Hella for sexual liasons with some sailors. When she finds him, they break up. It is immediately after her departure that the narrator tells the story.
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