Other People’s Trades

by

Trained as a chemist in Italy, Levi was deported to Auschwitz in 1944. His experiences in the death camps and his subsequent careers as a chemist, author, and classicist are reflected in this volume of 43 brief, elegant essays on subjects that aroused and amused him: birds, insects, frogs, parasites, pain, sidewalks, Rabelais, imaginary animals, the fear of snakes, qualities common to chess and poetry, children’s games, using a word processor for the first time, going back to school at 60, uncertainty about the future, psychological exams, the language of chemists, obscure writing (German poets Trakl and Celan, both of whom committed suicide). These witty, charming pieces confirm Levi’s position as one of the most gifted writers of our time.