A Tranquil Star: Unpublished Stories of Primo Levi

Primo Levi, Author, Ann Goldstein, Translator, Alessandra Bastagli, Translator , trans. from the Italian by Ann Goldstein and Alessandra Bastagli. Norton $21.95 (164p) ISBN 978-0-393-06468-1

Holocaust memoirist Levi (1919–1987) also wrote small fiction sketches, reminiscent of contemporaries Dino Buzzatti and Italo Calvino, for periodicals, collected here and introduced by Goldstein. Of two realistic pieces that recall The Periodic Table and Survival in Auschwitz , one concerns the last minute in the life of a resistance fighter whose act against his German captors would today be called a suicide bombing. Transparent political allegories, of the kind that were fashionable in the Cold War period up to the late '60s, predominate. In the slighter of the 17 works, a miraculous paint is developed to replace lucky charms, and a Mad Max –like look at sports of the future describes tourneys conducted between men armed with hammers and cars. "The Molecule's Defiance" concerns the inexplicable spoiling of a batch of synthetic chemical, eerie in its description of a monstrous, gelatinizing mass expanding rapidly in a reactor, as though revolting against its human makers. While these pieces (published in Italian from 1949 to 1986) don't really stand on their own, they shed further light on Levi's life and work. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/19/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 164 pages - 978-0-14-118891-1
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-4884-7
Paperback - 164 pages - 978-0-393-33161-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7927-4963-9
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