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The Periodic Table

Levi’s autobigraphical collection of tales about his life before during and after WWII uses as its narrative device the periodic table of elements. Chapters are all titled with these elements and Levi -- a chemist by training -- tells stories about himself and his life, loosely linked to the chosen element. A few of the chapters, written in italic type, seem to be purely fiction. One of the final chapters -- post-WWII when he is employed as a chemist in Italy -- recounts how Levi crosses the path of a German man who he met and interacted with when he was a concentration camp prisoner. Levi spends a lot of time reflecting on the difficulties he encountered being a Jew trying to find and keep work in Europe in the WWII era.