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The Problem of Reality

Michael Wood: Primo Levi, 1 October 1998

Primo Levi: The Tragedy of an Optimist 
by Myriam Anissimov, translated by Steve Cox.
Aurum, 452 pp., £25, September 1998, 1 85410 503 5
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... Myriam Anissimov’s biography of Primo Levi, first published in French two years ago, begins with a kind of stutter surrounding the writer’s end. The book’s Introduction, prologue and opening chapter all invoke his death, as if it were a threshold that had to be crossed but couldn’t be crossed without returning ...

Au revoir et merci

Christopher Tayler: Romain Gary, 6 December 2018

The Roots of Heaven 
by Romain Gary, translated by Jonathan Griffin.
Godine, 434 pp., $18.95, November 2018, 978 1 56792 626 2
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Promise at Dawn 
by Romain Gary, translated by John Markham Beach.
Penguin, 314 pp., £9.99, September 2018, 978 0 241 34763 8
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... initiated a year later by Patrick Modiano’s La Place de l’étoile. His French biographer, Myriam Anissimov, found evidence that he’d downplayed his Litvak background after his arrival in Nice and thinks he viewed it as an obstacle to social success in 1930s France. (‘He wasn’t entirely wrong,’ she adds.) Romain Gary, le caméléon ...

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