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The Periodic Tableby Primo Levi
One of Levi's more mystifying, yet fascinating works. Interworking elements of memoir and his skills as a master storyteller, Levi uses each chapter to tug at a different thread of the intricately woven history of the Holocaust. You may occasionally wish you still had your high school chemistry book. Nevertheless, this collection uplifting, astonishing, and, at times, terrifying will confound and enthrall you.
Synopses & Reviews
An extraordinary work in which each of the 21 chapters takes its title and starting point from one of the elements in the periodic table. Mingling fact and fiction, history and anecdote, Levi uses his training as a chemist and his experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz to illuminate the human condition.
"The best introduction to the psychological world of one of the most important and gifted writers of our times." Italo Calvino
"Levi's most important work... brilliant, ironic, and humane." Walter Clemons, Newsweek
"We are always looking for a book that is necessary to read next. There is nothing superfluous here, everything this book contains in essential." Saul Bellow
"[A] work of healing, of tranquil, even buoyant imagination." New York Times Book Review
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
The Periodic Table is largely a memoir of the years before and after Primo Levis transportation from his native Italy to Auschwitz as an anti-Facist partisan and a Jew.
It recounts, in clear, precise, unfailingly beautiful prose, the story of the Piedmontese Jewish community from which Levi came, of his years as a student and young chemist at the inception of the Second World War, and of his investigations into the nature of the material world. As such, it provides crucial links and backgrounds, both personal and intellectual, in the tremendous project of remembrance that is Levis gift to posterity. But far from being a prologue to his experience of the Holocaust, Levis masterpiece represents his most impassioned response to the events that engulfed him.
The Periodic Table celebrates the pleasures of love and friendship and the search for meaning, and stands as a monument to those things in us that are capable of resisting and enduring in the face of tyranny.
From the Hardcover edition.
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