Primo Levi, The Friend is a brief text in the form of a limmud. In Jewish tradition, a limmud is a teaching that serves as a memorial to someone who has passed away, dedicated to topics close to their heart; it allows the reader to participate in an ideal conversation—of the kind old friends continue to have with the departed. By delicately weaving personal memories with abundant quotations from Primo Levi's writing, Guidetti Serra conjures up his presence, and reveals how Primo Levi, the man—his thoughts, attitudes, and character — was intrinsically linked to his work. What also comes alive here is Levi's unique gift for deep and long lasting friendships.
Bianca Guidetti Serra (1919-2014) was a lawyer, fought as a partisan in the Italian Resistance and continued to be a political activist throughout her life. She met Primo Levi during their university years and maintained a close, lifelong friendship with him. She is the author of Compagne, Einaudi 2009, a collection of interviews with politically engaged women from Turin. [Publisher's Text]