The stories are autobiographical episodes of the author's experiences as a Jewish-Italian doctoral-level chemist under the Fascist regime and afterwards. They include various themes that follow a chronological sequence: his ancestry, his study of chemistry and practising the profession in wartime Italy, a pair of imaginative tales he wrote at that time, and his subsequent experiences as an anti-Fascist partisan, his arrest and imprisonment, interrogation, and internment in the Fossoli di Carpi and Auschwitz camps, and postwar life as an industrial chemist. Every story, 21 in total, has the name of a chemical element and is connected to it in some way.
Series: Penguin Essentials
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Viking (April 1, 2012)