Who but Italo Calvino could blend realism and illusion to capture so precisely and so elegantly these moments in the lives of ordinary people? A theft in a pastry shop, a frenzied evening in a tavern, a young soldier caught up in a private fantasy of seduction, a middle-class woman who discovers while swimming that she has lost the lower part of her bikini—all are transformed by Calvino's consummate artistry into stories that brilliantly explore intricate interior worlds. In these classics of the 1940s and 1950s, Calvino depicts instants of recognition and alarm, when cherished deceptions and illusions of love—frequently self-love—are stripped away. Published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983. Translated by William Weaver, Archivald Colquhoun, and Peggy Wright.