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Book Title: A Tranquil Star: Unpublished Short Stories|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 811 KB
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The author of the book: Primo Levi
Edition: W. W. Norton Company
Date of issue: April 11th 2007
ISBN 13: 9780393064681
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Reader ratings: 4.2
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These seventeen stories, first published in Italian between 1949 and 1986, demonstrate Levi's extraordinary range, taking the reader from the primal resistance of a captured partisan fighter to a middle-aged chemist experimenting with a new paint that wards off evil, to the lustful thoughts of an older man obsessed with a mysterious woman in a seaside villa. In the title story, Levi demonstrates his unerringly tragic understanding of the fragility of the universe through the tale of a pensive astronomer, terrified by the possibility that a long-dormant star might explode and reduce the entire planet to vapor. This remarkable new collection affirms Italo Calvino's conviction that Levi was "one of the most important and gifted writers of our time."
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Read information about the authorPrimo Michele Levi (Italian: [ˈpriːmo ˈlɛːvi]; 31 July 1919 – 11 April 1987) was an Italian chemist and writer. He was the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. His best-known works include If This Is a Man (1947), his account of the year he spent as a prisoner in the Auschwitz extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland; and his unique work, The Periodic Table (1975), linked to qualities of the elements, which the Royal Institution of Great Britain named the best science book ever written.
The Jews were rounded up for deportation to eastern concentration and death camps. On 21 February 1944, the inmates of the camp were transported in twelve cramped cattle trucks to Monowitz, one of the three main camps in the Auschwitz concentration camp complex (Levi's record number was 174,517). He spent eleven months there before the camp was liberated by the Red Army on 18 January 1945. Of the 650 Italian Jews in his transport, Levi was one of twenty who left the camps alive. The average life expectancy of a new entrant at the camp was three months.
Shortly before the camp was liberated by the Red Army, he fell ill with scarlet fever and was placed in the camp's sanatorium. On 18 January 1945, the SS hurriedly evacuated the camp as the Red Army approached, forcing all but the gravely ill on a long death march to a site further from the front.
Although liberated on 27 January 1945, Levi did not reach Turin until 19 October 1945. After spending some time in a Soviet camp for former concentration camp inmates, as a result of the Armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces, he embarked on an arduous journey home in the company of former pre-1946 Italian prisoners of war from the Royal Italian Army in Russia. His long railway journey home to Turin took him on a circuitous route from Poland, through Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Austria, and Germany. In later writing, he noted the millions of displaced people on the roads and trains throughout Europe in that period.
In the Academy Award-winning 2003 film by Denys Arcand, Les Invasions Barbares (The Barbarian Invasions), the main character expresses outrage at the apparent apathy of the Roman Catholic Church during World War II toward the Holocaust: "Pius XII sitting on his ass in his gilded Vatican, while Primo Levi was taken to Auschwitz... It's despicable! Hideous!". In another scene the same character wishes that he had written The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Levi's The Periodic Table. Later in the film, a French edition of If This Is A Man (Si c'est un homme) is prominently shown on the same character's bookshelf.
Christopher Hitchens' book The Portable Atheist, a collection of extracts of atheist texts, is dedicated to the memory of Levi, "who had the moral fortitude to refuse false consolation even while enduring the 'selection' process in Auschwitz". The dedication quotes Levi in The Drowned and the Saved, asserting, "I too entered the Lager as a nonbeliever, and as a nonbeliever I was liberated and have lived to this day."
The Primo Levi Center was named after the author.
In the Warehouse 13 episode "No Pain, No Gain," Primo Levi's scarf is featured as an artifact. The wearer gains "deep insight and intellect. Side effects may include prolific bouts of writing and intense thought provocation".
David Blaine has Primo Levi's concentration camp number, 174517, from Auschwitz tattooed on his left forearm.
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