>The New Yorker: "A Tranquil Star" by Primo Levi

>Is it the intention of the TNY to publish a Primo Levi story every month this year? That’s what they’ve done so far and, as a result, Levi leads the standings with 2 stories so far in 2007. I must say that I liked this one a good deal more than I liked “Bear Meat.” Or maybe what I mean is that this one seemed more Levi-like. In any case, the bulk of the story—the first 8 paragraphs (out of 10) are a cosmic set up for the actual story, which deals with a Peruvian astronomer gazing at the heavens. Before we meet this fellow, though, the story makes sure we understand how small we are: “For a discussion of stars our language is inadequate and seems laughable, as if someone were trying to plow with a feather. It’s a language that was born with us, suitable for describing objects more or less as large and as long-lasting as we are; it has our dimensions, it’s human.” It’s a thrilling concept and in the last moments of the story we see its application. The best story of the year so far?

February 12, 2007: “A Tranquil Star” by Primo Levi

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