Frankly, the problem with most great writers is this: outside of their craft, they don't have a life. They look down their noses at us and treat us like pathetic ants, often with no insight into our lives and our work. Here then is Primo Levi, on one hand, an accomplished chemist, on the other, someone who lived to speak of the Death Camps. This experience allows him to write the twenty one gems in "Periodic Table". Each one of these stories crystallizes around a seed element. The seeds form the basis for a detective story into the chemical mystery of a failed paint, an ancient plumber's life ruined by lead, and work in a chemistry lab inside Auschewitz. Levi has a dramatic literary style built for the short story. His writing is pithy and to the point. He builds the stories to encapsulate and expose a single core idea. Each one is about something, entering into the experience of one of the millions of people who lead lives worthy of examination.
Hey look, I'll help Amazon sell a book here, how much does it say you'll pay for it, $9.00 maybe? If you have a scientific bent, you'll surely find the stories here entertaining and interesting. Primo Levi was a unique person and that, coupled to his excellent style, makes this book a very good read.