Writer Primo Levi (1919-1987), 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. Springboarding from his training as a chemist, Levi uses the elements as metaphors to create a cycle of linked, somewhat autobiographical tales, including stories of the Piedmontese Jewish community he came from, and of his response to the Holocaust.
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“I immersed myself in The Periodic Table
gladly and gratefully. There is nothing superfluous here, everything this book contains is essential. It is wonderful pure, and beautifully translated…I was deeply impressed.” –Saul Bellow
“The best introduction to the psychological world of one of the most important and gifted writers of our time.”–Italo Calvino
“A work of healing, of tranquil, even buoyant imagination.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant, grave and oddly sunny; certainly a masterpiece.” –Los Angeles Times
“Every chapter is full of surprises, insights, high humor, and language that often rises to poetry.” –The New Yorker
“One of the most important Italian writers.” –Umberto Eco
With a new Introduction by Neal AschersonFrom the Hardcover edition.