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Moments of Reprieve: A Memoir of Auschwitz (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) Paperback – July 1, 1995


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Moments of Reprieve: A Memoir of Auschwitz (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) + People of the Book: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Series: Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (July 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140188959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140188950
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #889,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Published simultaneously with the reissue of Levi's Survival in Auschwitz and The Reawakening (see above), this new memoir presents 15 additional portraits of unforgettable characters the author encountered at Auschwitz. In Levi's "moments of reprieve"which he describes as "bizarre, marginal moments of truce"he encountered Wolf, a Berlin pharmacist who had scabies but didn't scratch; Ezra, the cantor who insisted that his soup ration be saved while he fasted on Yom Kippur; Joel, a blond Jew with a German accent who crossed Europe without being harmed by the Gestapo but was imprisoned by the British in Palestine; Avrom, an innocent young soldier of fortune who became a hero of the Resistance; Grigo, a Gypsy who paid with bread for having an undeliverable letter written; and Rumkowski, chief of the Lodz ghetto, who rode to Auschwitz in a private car. First serial to New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, Dissent and Moment. February
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gulley Jimson on January 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is lovely, but it is worth pointing out that it revisits characters that Levi has written in about in his previous memoirs, and is much more satisfying as an appendix than a freestanding work. The chapters on Cesare and Lorenzo gain a great deal of depth if one has already read If This Is a Man and The Truce, where the two are major characters. (These two books have unfortunately been re-titled in America, with complete inaccuracy and for mysterious reasons, Survival in Auschwitz and The Reawakening.)

Also, unlike The Periodic Table, which is also a collection of stories (and I think one of the best books of the 20th century), Moments of Reprieve is not designed to be a unified work of art. The stories were written under a variety of impulses, and most are individually brilliant and moving, but they do not gain strength from being around each other. The last chapter ("The Story of a Coin") about Rumkowski, even appears again -- with no changes as far as I could tell -- in The Drowned and the Saved, Levi's last completed book.

For anyone wanting to discover Levi's writing, I would suggest beginning with The Periodic Table, If This is a Man, and The Truce. Also wonderful are his single novel (If Not Now, When?) and his poetry. This collection, while not essential, serves as a worthy addition to his greatest work. It is also a testament to his artistry, because it shows how much he consciously left out of If This is a Man and The Truce -- stories that a lesser writer would have scrambled to include -- to create the unified, devastating impression of those two books.

Eventually, though, after reading those other great books, you will end up here, because I know of no one who has read them sincerely that has not wanted to spend more time in the company of this smart, funny, wise, and radiantly decent person.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lewyn VINE VOICE on August 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
This little memoir humanizes Levi's Auschwitz acquaintances, presenting them not merely as victims sitting around waiting to be gassed, but as lively, interesting people engaged in the full-time business of getting enough food to survive.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donald C. Schwartz on September 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I enjoy being older and having time to pursue the books I would like to read rather than have to read. I only discovered Primo Levi by seeing his name mentioned in reference to another author. And to think I might have missed this man's talent out of pure ignorance. What a shame there aren't many more of his works available, cut off by his depression and taking his life. Book quality excellent. Content of Levi's story exquisite.
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By momof2 on September 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
Absolutely everything Primo Levi writes is wonderful. This book of short stories is no exception. It is a small book, and each chapter is a new story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is almost like just alot of essays, or short stories. Levi describes some of the relationships and incidents that he recalls from his time in the camp. Very compelling reading, sort of like a human study of emotions.
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