Books: Strangers to Paradise

BOUGHT AND SOLD

by ALBERTO MORAVIA

Translated by ANGUS DAVIDSON

222 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $6.95.

Fiction writers playing at divinity have been known to imagine themselves seagulls, cockroaches, even—what hath God Roth?—a breast. But the most deceptively difficult of all tricks, the trapeze swing with no net, is for a man to imagine himself a woman.

The 34 stories in this collection are all about women, written in the first person. Yet Alberto Moravia is no intellectual transvestite, going for novelty kicks in drag. For more than 45 years, in works like Two...

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