Literature and War Readalong June 24 2011: If This is A Man aka Se questo è un uomo by Primo Levi

This month is moving very fast and the next readalong is on the 24th already. It might be good to get started if you want to join in.

Primo Levi is a writer that has been on my mind for years. I knew his story, had read about him. I have read other’s accounts of their incarceration in concentration camps. I have read excerpts of Levi’s work but never got around to read his most famous book, the autobiographical account of his incarceration in the extermination camp Auschwitz.

He was on my mind for this and because he committed suicide so late in life. Because he seems to be such a perfect example of survivor’s guilt.

I dreaded to read his account, I know it won’t be cheerful but I always wanted to read it, wanted to explore his life, to understand why he couldn’t live with the guilt of being one of a very few survivors.

Despite the sadness and the horrors he describes there is beauty in his books as he is not only a witness of dreadful times but also an accomplished writer.

Primo Levi’s book is the only nonfiction book in this readalong.

I’m reading the French translation Si c’est un homme.