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‘Meticulous and visionary … The entwined complexities and contradictions of man and writer are caught in Angier’s vastly detailed and intricately layered biography.’ TheNew York Times Book Review
Perhaps the most important writer to emerge from the death camps, Primo Levi spent sixty-five of his sixty-seven years in Turin, Italy, where he worked as a chemist by day and wrote at night in a study that had been his childhood bedroom. Thanks to his memoirs, which include Survival in Auschwitz, The Reawakening, and his autobiographical masterpiece The Periodic Table, he became widely known and loved as a supremely moral man, one who had transmuted the agonies of persecution into understanding and clarity. The whole world was shocked when he died in 1987, apparently having thrown himself into the stairwell of the house in which he had been born.
Carole Angier spent nearly ten years writing this deeply researched, vivid, and moving biography, which illuminates the design of Levi’s interior life: how he lived as a man divided, not only between chemistry and writing but also between hope and despair, and how the duty to testify released him to communicate, which was his deepest need.
‘Compelling – and beautifully written.’ The Wall Street Journal
‘Overpowering … Angier’s life study succeeds because, beyond its diligence and probity, it is an exhaustive exercise of moral imagination.’ San Francisco Chronicle
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