Tucci's marvelous novel The Sun and The Moon, published in 1977, was the most recent opportunity for English-readers to enjoy him (he publishes in artful Italian too); but here, after a fine introduction by Mary McCarthy, is the bulk of his short stories, many from The New Yorker in the 50's, each of which proves that autobiographical fiction need never be constrained by the anxieties of memory. In Tucci's wonderful stories of his headlong and heedless childhood (father a penniless rustic doctor, mother once of a Russian noble clan), all venality and disappointment are remade by the rhetoric of love and willful blindness. A horse dealer, in ""The Beautiful Blue Horse,"" all but begs with the parents to see that he's cheating them; but the foolish parents in a sense have the better idea: that hope is better than any horse. In ""History Comes C.O.D.,"" a landowner is being flagrantly bilked and yet seems to see his birthright as being most importantly a place of final rest--eschatology is all. Tucci's style is vivid, supple, and very much under control: this is major prose wearing the narrative crepe of nostalgia and light humor. A welcome collection.