The Monkey's Wrench

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Overview

In this exuberant novel, one of Italy's greatest living writers celebrates the art of storytelling and the spirit of work through weaving the mesmerizing t ales of an itinerant construction worker, Libertini Faussone, and a writer-chemist, the true and fictional Primo Levi.
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Overview

In this exuberant novel, one of Italy's greatest living writers celebrates the art of storytelling and the spirit of work through weaving the mesmerizing t ales of an itinerant construction worker, Libertini Faussone, and a writer-chemist, the true and fictional Primo Levi.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his second novel, Levi abandons the painful subject of the Holocaust and World War II with mixed results. His previous works, such as the memoirs Survival in Auschwitz and Moments of Reprieve, reveal his talent for careful, detailed storytelling and consciously artless dialogue, and this is a somewhat contrived celebration of that craft through the narrator's conversations with Faussone, an itinerant steelworker. Readers may find the technical minutiae on steel-rigging and paint chemistry (like Levi, the narrator is a paint chemist turned writer) less than compelling. But the novel also glistens with inspiring reflections on the disparate yet similar joys of mental and physical labor (the rigging of words vs. steel or molecules), and the relationship between storyteller/writer and listener/reader. Faussone passionately describes a truss tower-in-progress (``It was like seeing a baby grow'') and a finished crane (``It seemed to walk in the sky, smooth as silk, I felt like they'd made me a duke'') and offers his tales to the narrator (``You can work on it, grind it, hone it, deburr it, hammer it into shape, and you'll have a story''). The narrator similarly finds that ``loving your work . . . represents the best, most concrete approximation of happiness on earth'' but cautions that ``paper is too tolerant a material. You can write any old absurdity on it, and it never complains.'' (October
Library Journal
An Italian ironworker or rigger, Tino loves his work. Just read his story of the disaster on that bridge in India, or follow his description, given in loving detail, of how he assembled that off-shore oil platform in Alaska. He has traveled the world as a rigger, and now he unfolds his adventures to his chemist friend in monologues swirling with danger and exuberance. As these two men talk, the reader comes to see how one's work expresses one's life. Departing from the Holocaust themes of his previous works, Levi pays tribute to happiness on earth, of which he finds ``loving your work represents the best, most concrete approximation.'' William Weaver's fine translation from the original Italian catches Tino's ebullience, effectively bringing Levi's genius to the English audience. Highly recommended. Paul E. Hutchison, English Dept., Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140188929
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 516,011
  • Product dimensions: 10.76 (w) x 4.22 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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