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The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) Paperback – March 25, 2008
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-David Grossman, The New Yorker
"A masterpiece of comic writing; grave yet dignified, domestically plain yet poetic, exultant and forgiving, marvelously inventive, shy, and never raw."
-The New York Review of Books
"Bruno Schulz was one of the great writers, one of the great transmogrifiers of the world into words. . . . [His] verbal art strikes us-stuns us, even-with its overload of beauty."
"One of the most original imaginations in modern Europe."
"Schulz cannot be easily classified. He can be called a surrealist, a symbolist, an expressionist, a modernist. . . . He wrote sometimes like Kafka, sometimes like Proust, and at times succeeded in reaching depths that neither of them reached. . . . If Schulz had been allowed to live out his life, he might have given us untold treasures, but what he did in his short life was enough to make him one of the most remarkable writers who ever lived."
-Isaac Bashevis Singer
"Rich in fantasy, sensuous in their apprehension of the living world, elegant in style, witty, underpinned by a mystical but coherent idealistic aesthetic, The Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass were unique and startling productions, seeming to come out of nowhere. . . . Schulz was incomparably gifted as an explorer of his own inner life, which is at the same time the recollected inner life of his childhood and his own creative workings. From the first comes the charm and freshness of his stories, from the second their intellectual power."
-J. M. Coetzee, The New York Review of Books
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Top Customer Reviews
The first, Schulz's masterpiece, is only 100 pages long. I could never choose a favorite book, but this is the one I reread most often. Any attempt by me to descibe its contents is a mockery. Reading it is like peering into a strange, dark painting: a mad father, a bewitching sister, a dark corner where something never before seen grows (almost) to life. This book may only take you a day to read, but I promise it will be a illumined and unforgettable day.
'Sanatorium', which I think was written earlier, seems in part a workshop for what 'Crocodiles' would become, but this is appropriate for Schulz: he is the master of life half-created: the life of mannequins, mad relatives, stuffed birds.
My only practical advice is: allow yourself to skim the surreal novella "Spring" if you get bogged down in it the first time you try. Just make sure you don't miss the rest of the stories!
There is nothing else like this book--and this one book is all there is. I envy anyone reading it for the first time.
And so it was with Bruno Schulz and the surreal dreamscape of his 'Street Of Crocodiles'. Previously unknown to me - it was actually this site that recommended him to me - but as I read through the reviews and picked out descriptions such as 'Kafkaesque', and 'Middle European' and others, a picture began to form in my mind. A picture that is, safe to say, completely insufficient to even begin describing what I actually found inside this strange and densely imagined book.
My own lightweight adjectives may add to the misinterpretation. First, I'd like to address the easiest one to correct - though 'The Street of Crocodiles' may adhere to the loosest definition of 'novel' (as some have described it), when I tried to read it as such, I was nearly overwhelmed trying to arrange it into a coherent picture in my mind.Read more ›
The works of Bruno Schulz are definitely five star, I cannot highly recommend this enough.
Schulz's work is probably unique, not only in its artistic insights, but also in its precociousness relative to contemporary novelistic styles and preferences: the writing is redolent of twisted dreams, bizarre, fantastic and hallucinatory metaphors, queer observations, evocatively strange insights and, when combined with his Goya-like drawings, generates a perversely weird and haunting series of short novels.
His work seems to prefigure South American "magical realism", though the "supernaturalism" of that genre differs from Schulz's preoccupations. It has certain parallels to some of Kafka's work ("Metamorphosis" and "In the Penal Colony" come to mind) though the two writers were unknown to each other. The pure strangeness also evokes certain members of the school of early 20th century fantasy writers such as Lord Dunsany and Mervyn Peake. Frankly, if Albert Hoffman's pharmacologic discovery was known to Schultz, I would attribute some of the startling writing to a ergot-induced dream state.
Regrettably, Schulz was tragically, like so many others, consigned to a tragic and early oblivion by the Nazis. As a coda to that fact, an SS officer was so taken with Schultz's drawings that he extended him "special protection" in so far as he was permitted a small life outside the death ambit proscribed for non-conformers to National Socialist intellectual, cultural, religious and other rigid proscriptions. Frankly, he would not have prospered under the Stalinist brand of Marxism, either.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an extremely creative and confusing book; I'm glad to get acquainted with Schulz's work, but probably won't read more of it. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Nancy Sjoholm
Haunting, evocative collection of Bruno Schulz's dreamlike writings. Absolutely should be on Kindle.Published 4 months ago by Netegexi
In his Foreword to this collection, fellow Brooklyn burgher Jonathan Safran Foer writes “I remember the first time I read THE STREET OF CROCODILES. Read morePublished 4 months ago by R. Russell Bittner
Writings from one of the writers the Nazis burnt in their crematoriums. Schulz must live on! A pen as alive today as it was in post Weimar Germany prior to his death for being... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lumdor
. Don't read for plot in this man's writing. Savor it slowly. A sentence is a poem; a paragraph a painting. Transcendent stuff indeed.Published 15 months ago by Manya M.
Superb! What a wonderful book! You will love it. And be sure to check out his art as well. An amazing talent!Published 18 months ago by Flush
Like all too many first person narratives the brilliant imagination of the author is destroyed by its getting into the mind of other characters--the one thing that more than any... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Frank A. Green