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The Street of Crocodiles (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) Paperback – March 1, 1992
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The book's characters are unbelievably haunting, despite its complete lack of dialogue. No wonder Polish writer Bruno Schulz is best known for this novel, though it is little more than 120 pages. It is easily one of the most poetic and riveting novels of the 20th century. It was also Schulz' first. It was published in 1934 as "Cinnamon Shops."
Schulz was an artist before he was a writer. And in this novel, he paints with his words. (He had come to writing in thanks partly to the encouragement of the poet Deborah Vogel.)
The novel opens with a scene from his family home. In July, when his father had gone "to take the waters," Schulz was left with his mother and elder brother, "prey to the blinding white heat of the summer days." Together, they dipped into a large volume of "holidays, its pages blazing with sunshine and scented with the sweet melting pulp of golden pears." On luminous mornings, his mother Adela returned from the market "like Pomona emerging from the flames of day." Everything that follows is a sensory feast.
Schulz' images are sometimes surreal and the events of the book, bizarre and often amazing. His father, for example, being enamored of birds, virtually becomes one. He moves into the attic where birds of prey visit.
The first edition was illustrated by several of Schulz' masterful drawings and etchings, made in his earlier artistic mode, all of them reproduced elsewhere. One entitled "The Table" illustrated a scene at the family house which the book elegantly retells.Read more ›
The stories all deal with the narrator (Bruno) and his family when Bruno was a child. Each story starts out with a beautiful description of the milieu, then moves into stranger grounds where psychological unease mixes with facts. Kafkaesque would be the word applicable to describe Schulz's work (as there even is a story about a man turning insect-like... in this case, the father, not the son) but as researchers surmised, there is no real evidence that Schulz was influenced by Kafka.
What makes Bruno Schulz's prose so heartbreaking is its ceaseless and painful yearning to remember the past; almost every description is a metaphor that is drenched in almost extrasensory feeling. In consequence, every object, every motion, and every emotion remembered by Schulz throbs with a realism that is hot-wired to our subconscious, to our collective and private myths.
If you like reading, you must read Schulz.
His input continued to illuminate not only the character of his uncle but also the world in which he wrote and lived. There is often a lyrical, often somewhat pastoral quality to much of Bruno Schulz's writing. The external reality so closely associated with the subjects and settings of his work are widely regarded as bleak and burnished. The world he represents in his stories is not necessarily in keeping with the images often associated with Poland during his lifetime, he was a writer influenced by the imagination...
The novel is split into thirteen chapters, each of which focuses on a different part of the Polish city of Drogobych, or on an aspect of Schulz' home life. 'Birds', for instance, is the story of his father's obsession with the winged creatures, beginning with the importation of rare bird's eggs from Africa, Holland, Hamburg, and ending with a vast aviary in the attic, with arranged marriages between different species of birds and, finally, with his father joining the birds, perching and squawking and flapping his wings. Or, 'The Street of Crocodiles', the false namesake of the book - which was actually titled 'Cinammon Shops' in Poland - a decadent, dirty arrangement of streets and buildings where anything and anyone is a commodity for purchase and use. However, The depravity, the immorality, the cheapness of the Street of Crocodiles is so great that they fail even at being depraved, revealed to instead be a mockery of a corrupt suburb, a sham crudity, a false crime. The other stories are similarly bizarre, by turns brilliantly insightful - The Birds chapter, while suitably odd, could also quite easily be read as a man's attempt to occupy himself upon a forced retirement, and failing because he doesn't know of any other life but work - or delightfully, guiltily weird and interesting.
As an author, Schulz had an amazing gift for painting pictures with words.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very discriptive, beautiful but ot easy to read because of many new words. A little bit weird. You have to be ready for it.Rich language, classikPublished 1 month ago by Marilyn
You ahve to enjoy Kafka to realy enjoy Schulz's writing- I was not a big fan, but the writing is definitely goodPublished 9 months ago by rmack2003
One of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. Although I did not quite understand the true meaning of the book, I really appreciated the fine writing and still give it... Read morePublished 12 months ago by cheri
Brilliant, luminescent prose that seems more like poetry. The story, the characters, the setting all emanate from a magical world. Simply beautiful.Published 22 months ago by Pendelton Pike
As I have said elsewhere, 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... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Frank A. Green
" Dizzy with light, we dipped into that enormous book of holidays, its pages blazing with sunshine and scented with the sweet melting pulp of golden pears" and with those... Read morePublished on July 3, 2014 by Kate
Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles has become a retrospective Jewish classic. Part of the reason is Schulz’s biography. Read morePublished on October 24, 2013 by Eric Maroney