David feels responsible for the fact that his friend is sentenced to be executed. A few nights after a scandalous murder occurs in the city of Paris, David finds himself staring out his bedroom window, wondering how it all went wrong. He sits at home feeling lonely and depressed, trying to make sense of what's happened. David recounts in narrative monologue the story of his life. He begins by reflecting upon his childhood: his relationships with his alcoholic father and abusive aunt; his first homosexual encounter; his immigration to Paris and his meeting Giovanni.
David's musings are interrupted by his housekeeper. She tells him she's concerned for his health, and encourages him to meet a woman. She tells him to marry, to settle down, and to start attending church and praying. David feels embarrassed by her concern. He quickly gathers his suitcase and other items from the room, preparing to leave his house. Glancing around his room one last time, he's reminded of the time he spent in Giovanni's room. Nostalgic pain and guilt rise within him, as he contemplates what Giovanni's room in prison must be like: gray, constricting, death-like, and cold.
David continues to reflect upon his life in Paris. He recounts his growing friendship with Giovanni, his internal conflicts about his sexual attraction to Giovanni. He reflects on his relationships with his girlfriends Sue and Hella. He recalls the jealousy Giovanni felt toward Hella in particular.
David believes that Giovanni's subsequent depression, instability and criminal manslaughter are a direct result of David's choosing Hella over him. He believes that Giovanni would not have committed murder had he and David been together. Finally, David reflects upon his own romantic loss: how Hella left him and returned to American upon discovering David's secret homosexuality.
As David considers all that has occurred during his brief stay in Paris, he's overwhelmed with feelings of shame, confusion, guilt, and loneliness. He feels a strong sense of alienation from his own body, as though his body belonged to someone else. David reflects that his future, like his past, will likely be full of trouble, sadness, and yearning.
Best scene in story:
David loves being in Giovanni's room. Things feel so hip; so Parisian. One afternoon while Giovanni is working at the local bar, David stars at the walls and thinks of renovating the place. He wants to use his hands for something, and he wants to give Giovanni something in exchange for the friendship and support that Giovanni offers him. David eventually falls alseep thinking, of renovating Giovanni's room and of myriad other little gifts he could bestow upon Giovanni. This scene demonstrates the real bond of affection and loyalty David shares with Giovanni. It also shows David in a sympathetic light: he's a caring friend who wants to give, not just take.
Opinion about the main character:
The main character is quite passive and confused. He doesn't take responsibility for his own actions until it's too late. His actions often cause harm to those he claims to care about. In particular, David is deceptive and secretive. However, the reader is aware that his secretive nature is tied to the fact that David isn't yet able to accept certain parts of himself. We want David to come to terms with his own sexuality so that he can engage more honestly with his friends and lovers. The fact that he never gets there is what makes the book so melancholy. However, it is also clear that David is at a transitional moment in his life. There's reason to believe that he's on his way toward greater self-realization and acceptance.