In this exuberant and wildly funny novel, Primo Levi celebrates the joys of work and the art of storytelling. The magic is worked through the mesmerizing tales told by Libertini Faussone, a construction worker, and by the narrator, a writer-chemist, who share stories of their adventures. Faussone is a life-loving, self-educated philosopher who has built bridges and towers in India, Africa, Alaska, and Russia. His passion for work and travel shines through his stories – of a monkey who wanted to be a man, of a magnificent machine that caught stardust, and of a first love, a girl who drove a bulldozer. The writer-chemist, himself a rigger of words and molecules, listens, patient and amused, and responds with his own fascinating stories and reflections on the similar joys of labor, both physical and intellectual.
“A remarkable narrative of a worklife as told to Primo Levi, who is as great a listener as he is a creative artist.” – Studs Terkel