Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"The Competition" by Alberto Moravio (1963)

Very recently I read, Agostino, my first work by Alberto Moravio (1907 to 1990, Rome), one of the masters of post World War Two European literature.  I was pleased to find one of his short stories online, "The Competition". (No translation credit is given and I am guessing at the first publication date as around1963, if you know details please leave a comment.)

The story begins with an elderly man explaining how business competition works to one of his grandsons.  The grandfather once had a store but a competitor drove him into bankruptcy through under cutting his prices.  His grandson wants to set up his own business, a pushcart on a bridge, selling fruits and vegetables.  His manner is rough and unpolished but as he is the only cart on the well traveled bridge he does well.  Then a woman helped by her pretty eighteen year old granddaughter sets up a cart next to him.  She undercuts his prices, does a better job attracting peopleand the male customers prefer to be waited on by the pretty girl so his business begins to go badly downhill.  To make it sadder, he finds himself falling in love with the girl.   I don't want to tell much more of the plot of this very interesting story but the man becomes the victim of a vicious deception and ends up as a  cynic like his grandfather.  

I hope to read much more by Moravio.

Alberto Moravio and his wife, the writer Elsa Morante

You can read this story online here.

Mel u

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