Natalia Ginzburg's Voices in the Evening intertwines the lives, loves, and losses of a group of upper middle class men and women living in a provincial Italian town before, during, and after the Second World War. The war, as well as the fascist government that preceded and precipitated it and the social changes that follow in its wake, affects the characters like a natural disaster, more something that happens to them rather than something in which they meaningfully participate. The focus is instead on the relationships among the characters as they evolve down through the years.
As the title implies, the stories of the novel are told primarily through dialogue, the characters talking to and about one another. There is no overarching plot, the novel being tied together by the setting, the characters, and the theme that, in this world at least, happiness is like water - impossible to hold on to.