Aging homosexual Cockcroft lives with his mongrel dog Timoleon Vieta, who has the most beautiful eyes, in splendid isolation in the Umbrian countryside in Italy, reminiscing about the boy in silver shorts who used to go out with him. One day in walks the malevolent ‘Bosnian' who Timoleon Vieta takes an instant dislike to.
The Bosnian does odd jobs around the house until Wednesday evening when it is time to pay his rent in sexual favours, a joke that Cockcroft had made countless times but never expected anyone to take him up on. When Timoleon Vieta bites the Bosnian's hand the Bosnian makes an ultimatum to Cockcroft, one of them has to go. Blind drunk Cockcroft agrees to let Timoleon Vieta go and they drive into Rome to dump the dog by the Colliseum.
In the second part of the book we meet all the people that Timoleon Vieta encounters on his way back to the farmhouse. There is a Welsh girl who is being two-timed by her Italian lover. A Chinese orphan who is horrible to her step-father. A studious deaf girl who takes up with the local delinquent thus re-enacting an age old village folklore. But she dumps the delinquent and he tries to commit suicide. A girl Rosa who has learning difficulties and occasionally smiles which her father has yet to see. And a disfigured Cambodian girl who stares at Timoleon's image in a photo her beautiful married sister has taken on her trip to Italy. Timoleon finally staggers back to the farmhouse to have one final encounter with the Bosnian and Cockcroft is reunited with the boy in silver shorts.
This report prepared by John Marcel