The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories

The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories

Book - 2008
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Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2008
ISBN: 9780143105145
0143105140
Branch Call Number: SS SCHULZ BRUNO
Characteristics: xxix, 335 p. : ill. ; 20 cm

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lukasevansherman
Jul 11, 2017

"Came the yellow days of winter, filled with boredom."
Bruno Schulz was a Polish writer and artist, best-known for his 1934 collection of short stories, "The Street of Crocodiles" (originally published as "Cinnamon Shops"). In 1942, at the age of 50, he went out for a walk and was shot dead by a Nazi (Schulz was Jewish). This edition brings together "Crocodiles" with his final work, "Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass," which he also illustrated. The stories blend the quotidian with the surreal and Kakfa, whom he translated, is the most obvious reference point. For anyone interested in European literature, this is an excellent edition, featuring a helpful introduction and a less helpful forward by Jonathan Safran Foer. There's a very cool short film of "Street of Crocodiles" directed by teh Quay Brothers.

d
DWIGHT A GREEN
Mar 11, 2016

Making the ordinary extraordinary and providing new ways of looking at his surroundings, Schulz’s writing could be called hypnotic and jarring at the same time. He strips the banal veneer off of the everyday and looks at the possible underlying existence(s) of things: items, people, landscapes, and even time. The “spurious thirteenth month” (“A Night of the High Season”) he describes as “white, bewildered, and unnecessary days” could carry over to any time of the year he describes.

Schulz recreates not just childhood memories but a childhood consciousness which includes every possibility, fabulous or mundane—nothing has been ruled out as impossible at this stage. The narrator recounts experiences with his family and friends through this consciousness, where a simple stroll in the evening with his father turns into a cosmic lightshow. A stampbook becomes imbued with additional meaning that provides insight into history and current events. His father appears in many of the stories, usually diminishing in size and influence as the tale progresses. A book divulges different secrets when the page is rubbed or the wind blows colors and figures away. There are a few stories told from an older narrator’s point of view—some work well, some don’t.

Highly recommended. (I also recommend Wojciech Jerzy Has’ film "Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass," based on some of these stories.)

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