Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quick Looks: More Short Stories

A Tranquil Star--Stories by Primo Levi
This is a collection of Levi's previously unpublished stories, written between the 1940s and the 1980s.  The style and themes are all over the place--memoir, fantasy, satire.  One I found particularly moving was "Bear Meat," an old man's memory of the physical and mental tests and rewards of mountain climbing in the Italian alps in his youth.

The Birds & Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier
I recently discovered that Hitchcock's film The Birds was inspired by a story by Daphne du Maurier.  "The Birds" is the first story in this volume, and it was fairly chilling, if a bit abruptly ended.   I can't honestly say I enjoyed the other stories much, though;  they seemed to strain a bit for effect, and were darker than I like, even to the point of being depressing. 


  1. Due to an earlier post I was introduced by you(Periodic Table, May 2012) to Primo Levi. I just started If this is a Man. He is truly a very gifted writer! I think I'll pass on Du Maurier....not really in the mood for dark stories right now.

    1. Oh yes! His work is so varied, but I always see two things in it. One is his love of chemistry and the earth. The other--no matter what the style or subject matter, he seems to be exploring how the human mind and human societies work, and I always wonder if he was trying, this way and that way, to explain to himself his experiences in Auschwitz.

    2. best to process the Holocaust....
      with your head or with your heart?