A Perfect Hoax

By Italo Svevo

Translated by J.G. Nichols

ISBN: 9781847497758

114 pages

RRP: £5.99 £4.79

Travelling salesman Enrico Gaia decides to play a trick on the conceited ageing littérateur Mario Samigli: he dupes him into thinking that a representative of a prestigious Viennese publishing house wants to commission a German translation of a long-forgotten novel Samigli had written and published at his own expense forty years ago. This leads the old man to reach new heights of self-delusion, spurred on by Gaia’s succession of ruses.

In this tragicomic study of deception and disappointment, Italo Svevo – who himself was an undiscovered writer until his old age – parodies elements of his own life and offers an insightful psychological portrait of a person who has lost touch with reality.

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  • …a wonderful comedy where the resourcefulness of the vain and creative mind is aided by a variety of unlikely circumstances in its desperate effort to reconstruct self-esteem and serenity

    Tim Parks

Italo Svevo

Born in Trieste to a Jewish German father and an Italian mother, Italo Svevo (1861–1928) worked for his father-in-law’s paint business for most of his life and was unknown as a writer until the 1923 publication of Zeno’s Conscience, which is now considered a classic of Italian fiction.