Review – Levi, “The Periodic Table”

Too Much Berard

Primo Levi, “The Periodic Table” (translated from the Italian by Raymond Rosenthal) (1975) – What is there to say about Primo Levi? As far as I can tell, he might be the most universally respected of the great twentieth century literary figures. No late-career slump, no shilling for oppressive regimes, no ego spiral, no sexual predation… just a dude saying what he saw, as best he could.

I’m both trying to be more brief with these reviews (especially of fiction) and am about two weeks late with this one- between my birthday and everything, stuff just got pushed. This is a book of short stories about Levi’s life, mostly before and after his time in Auschwitz. Each is themed after one of the elements on the periodic table- Levi was a chemist by vocation. They range a lot. There’s a discussion of the old Italian Jewish community the came from…

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