Zeno is alone, thinking about the words left unsaid and the lack of understanding between him and his father, who has been dead a year now. He meets Giovanni Malfenti, the father of four girls. He begins to work for him. Soon his existence revolves around the Malfenti family. He falls in love with Ada, the eldest, a stage actress. She yields once to his advances, then, with no explanation given, withdraws from him. Zeno is then seduced by Alberta, the second oldest, constantly in competition with her sister. Zeno allows himself to be drawn into the game between the two sisters, attracted as he is by this family where hate and love flare up constantly but at least one is never alone. The game however ends in tragedy.