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Primo Levi's Universe

. . . careful and elegant . . . an exemplary slender critical biography . . . His book is a remarkable one.

-- Buffalo News

Apart from its honesty and its spirit of sympathetic inquiry, one of the joys of this rich volume, a blend of biography an analysis, is the generosity with which Magavern embraces Levi's mind.

-- Hadassah Magazine

This is a measured and sensitive . . . exploration of a complicated and tortured soul who desperately sought freedom throughout his lifetime.

-- Publishers Weekly


. . . profoundly moving . . . What Magavern shows, with remarkable skill, is how Levi, the writer, managed to live in Auschwitz in a state Levi himself desribes as "exceptional spiritedness."

-- Jewish Book World


Primo Levi is renowned for his memoirs of Auschwitz, including Survival in Auschwitz and The Drowned and the Saved. Yet he was also a scientist, poet, mountain climber, and novelist: in short, a Renaissance man. Since his death in 1987, Levi has been the subject of lengthy biographies and academic studies. My book is different: I weave life and works together to present Levi's view of the world - tragic and comic, Darwinist and magical, secular and Jewish - and how it evolved.


Levi's works, read together, form a crucial testament about what it means to be a man - an account forged in the brutal dehumanization of the death camps, but leavened and deepened by the misadventures, loves, depressions, and joys of ordinary life. Primo Levi's Universe is meant for anyone who wants to get to know one of the most remarkable men of the last century.

Jonathan Rosen, author of The Life of the Skies and The Talmud and the Internet, contributed the foreword, and Risa Sodi, of Yale University, author of A Dante of our Time: Primo Levi and Auschwitz, wrote the afterword.

Order it from Amazon or, if you live in or near Buffalo, buy it from Talking Leaves.