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Primo Levi

The Periodic Table

Each of the 21 chapters has the name of a chemical element and comprises a story linked to that element (no chemical knowledge is required). Mostly the chapters are autobiographical, although some are episodes from other peoples lives, and a few are short stories which Levi has written. We see Levi's early life followed by a struggle to find employment in Fascist Italy. There is just one chapter of his time in Auschwitz - Levi has written about this in other books. After the war he struggles with self-employed, but finds he is better suited to working in large companies. We get a unique insight into the mind of a scientist turned author, the chapters are very well written, and I think all readers will find this book highly enjoyable

My favourite chapter is 'Chromium' in which a group of colleagues are discussing unnecessary ingerdients in chemical procedures. One mentions an anti-rust paint to which ammonium chloride is added, of which Levi can say 'is completely useless as I can state from firsthand experience because it was I who introduced it to the formula'. Thus we are led into the problem which he had to solve, told in Levi's unique style - the struggle with 'the hyle, stupid matter, slothfully hostile' - we also hear about how falling in love affected his attitude to this work.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0349121982
Salesrank: 6799962
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 1988 Abacus Uk
Marketplace:New from $14.95:Used from $0.98
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0349121982
Salesrank: 660668
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 1995 Abacus
Marketplace:New from £8.47:Used from £0.01
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Paperback
ISBN: 0349121982
Salesrank: 1448570
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 1988 Abacus Uk
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 50.72:Used from CDN$ 0.01
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
Primo Levi's The Periodic Table is a collection of short stories that elegantly interlace the author's experiences in Fascist Italy, and later in Auschwitz, with his passion for scientific knowledge and discovery. This Penguin Modern Classics edition of is translated by Raymond Rosenthal with an essay on Primo Levi by Philip Roth. A chemist by training, Primo Levi became one of the supreme witnesses to twentieth-century atrocity. In these haunting reflections inspired by the elements of the periodic table, he ranges from young love to political savagery; from the inert gas argon - and 'inert' relatives like the uncle who stayed in bed for twenty-two years - to life-giving carbon. 'Iron' honours the mountain-climbing resistance hero who put iron in Levi's student soul, 'Cerium' recalls the improvised cigarette lighters which saved his life in Auschwitz, while 'Vanadium' describes an eerie post-war correspondence with the man who had been his 'boss' there. In his essay, Philip Roth reproduces a conversation with Primo Levi, delving into the process of Levi's authorial technique, his sense of identity and distinctiveness and the relationship between science, writing and survival. Primo Levi (1919-87), an Italian Jew, did not come to the wide attention of the English-reading audience until the last years of his life. A survivor of the Holocaust and imprisonment in Auschwitz, Levi is considered to be one of the century's most compelling voices, and The Periodic Table is his most famous book. Levi is the author of Moments of Reprieve and If Not Now, When?, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. Philip Roth is the author of Nemesis and The Plot Against America, and winner of the both the Pulitzer prize, and the Man Booker International prize. If you enjoyed The Periodic Table, you might like Levi's If Not Now, When?, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A book it is necessary to read' Saul Bellow, author of Herzog 'One of the finest writers in post-war Italy' The Times