Influenced by the rise of the science of psychology and the turmoil of the early twentieth century, A Perfect Hoax is an ironic and affectionate story of illusion, self-deception and impracticality in a practical world. Mario Samigli is in his seventies; he has all but given up his cherished aspirations as a writer and smiles at the world through his one remaining literary outlet - fables. When a travelling salesman with a taste for practical jokes persuades him that a Viennese publishing company wants to translate his early failed novel, Mario is caught in a fantasy of success and fame, and neglects his beloved invalid brother. A Perfect Hoax follows the elaborate prank as it escalates, forcing Mario blindly down a road that can only lead to disappointment.
Austro-Italian writer Italo Svevo (1861 - 1928) is best remembered for his modernist novel Zeno's Conscience. Novelist and translator Tim Parks is well known for his writing on contemporary Italian life. His novel Europa was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997.