I hope the reader will be indulgent toward the extreme dispersion of themes, tones, and angles of approach that he will find in this collection. My justification is: the 'pieces' are situated in an arc of time that is close to a quarter of a century, the time of my almost total fidelity to LA STAMPA: and in twenty-five years many things change, inside us and around us. Furthermore, they are conditioned by my intrinsic libertinage, in part willed, in part due to the itinerary fate has reserved for me; I've drunk at various founts and breathed different airs, some salutary, others quite polluted . . . I'm a normal man with a good memory who fell into a maelstrom and got out of it more by luck than by virtue, and who from that time on has preserved a certain curiosity about maelstroms large and small, metaphorical and actual. From Primo Levi's introduction to The Mirror Maker, his eloquent, witty and wise collection of short stories and essays.