THE TIGER AND THE SNOWRome in 2003, shortly before American troops invaded Iraq. Poet and university lecturer Attilo De Giovanni lives in an ivory tower. His latest anthology of poems The Tiger and the Snow has recently been published and has been well-received by critics and readers alike. This sensitive poet is rarely affected by the banalities of everyday life and at night his dreams are full of Vittoria, the woman he would like to marry. In real life, however, the woman of his dreams is simply not interested. Attilo follows her, pleads with her and throws himself at her feet but the more he tries to win her heart, the more adamant is her rebuff.
Vittoria is also a writer. She is currently working on a biography of the famous Iraqi poet, Fuad, who has been living in Paris for many years but who plans to return to Baghdad to be with his fellow Iraqis when war breaks out. Attilo once met the poet with Vittoria when he came to Rome.
One day Attilo receives a phone call from Baghdad. Its Fuad. He has dreadful news. Vittoria has been badly wounded in one of the first British and American bombing raids and is dying. Attilo doesnt hesitate even for a moment. He moves heaven and earth to be allowed to travel to Iraq with a delegation of Red Cross employees. With great good luck and dogged persistence he manages to make it to Vittorias bedside. She is lying unattended, in a hospital with only the most piffling facilities and equipment at its disposal. If she is to survive, she needs medication that cannot be obtained in Baghdad.
Refusing to give up hope, Attilo scours the ruins and the rubble of the war zone in desperate search of a pharmacy. Unable to find a single intact drug store in the entire city, he sets off instead to find an chemist able to prepare the medication. But then Attilo falls into the hands of the Americans