“A remarkable narrative of a worklife as told to Primo Levi, who is as great a listener as he is a creative artist.” —Studs Terkel A Penguin Classic In this exuberant and wildly funny novel, Primo Levi celebrates the joys of work and the art of storytelling. The magic is worked through the mesmerizing tales told by Libertini Faussone, a construction worker, and by the narrator, a writer-chemist, who share stories of their adventures. Faussone is a life-loving, self-educated philosopher who has built bridges and towers in India, Africa, Alaska, and Russia. His passion for work and travel shines through his stories—of a monkey who wanted to be a man, of a magnificent machine that caught stardust, and of a first love, a girl who drove a bulldozer. The writer-chemist, himself a rigger of words and molecules, listens, patient and amused, and responds with his own fascinating stories and reflections on the similar joys of labor, both physical and intellectual.
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About the Author
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. His books include Survival in Auschwitz, The Reawakening, The Periodic Table, and Moments of Reprieve.
William Weaver (translator; 1923–2013) was the influential translator of such Italian writers as Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, and Elsa Morante. He authored numerous books on opera and a biography of Eleanora Duse.
“In Levi’s writing, nothing is superfluous and everything is essential.” —Saul Bellow
“One of the most important and gifted writers of our time.” —Italo Calvino