Books: In Stendhal's Shadow

THE FANCY DRESS PARTY (299 pp.)—Alberto Moravia — Farrar, Straus & Young ($3).

Italian Novelist Alberto Moravia is a virtuoso who makes each of his books an experiment in a different literary manner. In The Woman of Rome, it was gritty realism; in The Conformist, political allegory; in Conjugal Love, a fine-threaded analysis of human passion. An earlier Moravia novel now published in the U.S. for the first time, The Fancy Dress Party, shows him in still another manner; it seems a deliberate attempt to recreate that gay mixture of political satire and opera bouffe which make Stendhal's Charterhouse of Parma...

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