"Two Guys From Verona" is a beautifully written book about a couple of characters so realistic you could probably lift samples of their DNA from the typeface. Like most worthwhile works of art, however, it leaves the reader pondering some troubling questions. For instance, I wasn't sure why one of the characters, who is portrayed as kind and decent, agreed to allow a rapist to adopt her newborn daughter. Also, Kaplan's odd couple -- Will Weiss and Joel Gold -- seem throughout the book to be acting out a virtual parable of the wages of materialism: Weiss is made miserable by his constant need for more money, while Gold appears to be slightly happier because he prefers simple pleasures (cruising in his Impala, writing poetry) to the obsessive quest for money and material gain. Thus the revelation in the end that Gold is actually the more materially wealthy of the two seems a bit confusing. Is Kaplan telling us that it's okay to amass large sums of money as long as you don't let its accumulation rule your life? At any rate, there is plenty of ambiguity in the book, which makes it all the more enjoyable to read. I suspect one could read this novel a dozen times and never fathom its depths entirely. James Kaplan's "Two Guys From Verona" is one of the few books about the end of this century that is likely to be around for the end of the next one as well.