The Elephant
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The Elephant

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  270 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Satirical stories deal with superstition, bureaucracy, propaganda, appearance and reality, courtship, marriage, class structure, and education
Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 13th 1985 by Grove Press (first published 1957)
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MJ Nicholls
This collection of surreal and satirical fables is perfect fare for fans of Donald Barthelme, Nikolai Gogol, or Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. In the title story, an inflatable elephant is blown up in a zoo to save money. In ‘The Giraffe’ a little boy is unable to find any reference to giraffes in Marx and Engels, so his uncle denies their existence. In ‘A Forester in Love’ a forester’s enormous moustache is used as a makeshift washing line. In ‘The Lion’ a lion refuses to enter the coliseum and warn...more
Wayne
Aug 06, 2011 Wayne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all the mindless PC people who won't read it
Recommended to Wayne by: my desire for the different
It is only the Complacent Ones who will view these short often crucifyingly amusing surreal pieces as descriptive of Totalitarian regimes.

Australia has recently declared the possibility of forcing artists to classify their works so that it can cut down on, control any sign of genitalia and other offensive stuff. An English playwright recently wrote a work about a teacher brought to trial because of abusive behaviour which consisted in gently pushing a student in the direction of the classroom d...more
Ellen
I don't ordinarily read or like short stories. This is a major exception. Sort, laugh-a-loud stories about the absurdities of living in a dictatorship/communist country. I especially liked "The Trial" in which they put all the authors into uniform and award ranks so you can tell what to think about each. Of course, a problem arises classifying an eccentric writer. Many others were also wonderful. Should be read in our high schools!
Shervie
It Is Astonishing.
Lorenzo Berardi
"The Elephant" is a book collecting of forty-two short stories where Slawomir Mrożek pokes fun at politics, bureaucracy and social life of Poland in the 1950s.
Although Poland is never named here what the author wrote had a very clear goal: hitting the daily comedy of a life ruled by what the Party and its hyerarchies said.

It's a fact that most Polish people at that time had to follow the line (or at least pretend to do it for their own sake). And that Party line was far from being straight and...more
Lib King
So sharp and hilarious. My particular favourites were birthday, the elephant, the trial, the swan, in the drawer, the background to an era, a drummer's adventure, peer gynt, the co-operative, the giraffe, the last hussar, a citizen's fate, an event, on a journey, spring in Poland, and finally the last one - chronicle of a besieged city - the most fabulous summing up of it all!
Alison
This is a very readable collection of allegorical tales of life in a totalitarian state. Each literary 'sketch' is very short but the author manages to load his writing with hidden meaning; unwritten implications; wit; absurdity, love, sadness, regret and indignation.
The stories can be read as light entertainment or really delved into to uncover the multiple layers of meaning. I did feel that I failed to grasp the point of several stories but I consider that to be my fault as a reader rather tha...more
Mariano Hortal
"El elefante" es la última novela que Acantilado publica de Slawomir Mrozek. Este escritor polaco se caracteriza especialmente por su narrativa breve. Cuentos de no más de 5 páginas que se leen en un ratito y se disfrutan un montón. Prosa puntillosa, exacta, cargada de sátira ante la sociedad polaca, no exenta de lirismo y con varios niveles de lectura para disfrutar. Una delicia, descubrir la narrativa breve, lo más cercano al lirismo de la poesía, a través de un autor tan característico como e...more
Melissa
Satirical short stories about life under a totalitarian regime. The title story is a good example -- story of a zookeeper who, to save money and make himself look better to higher officials, buys an inflatable elephant for the zoo instead of a live animal. The workers inflating it with air switch to filling it with gas to save time, and predictably, it floats away during the first day of exhibition. A suitable story must be found to explain so as not to embarass any party officials. An entertain...more
علی
Elephant
Unique, satiric and descriptive novella, though Mrozek is most known by his plays “Out at Sea” 1961, “Karol” 1962, “Striptease” 1962, and “Tango” (1964).
نام مترجم "فیل" به فارسی در خاطرم نمانده اما چند نمایش نامه ی اسلاومیر مروژک را ایرج زهری به فارسی برگردانده و برخی مانند "کارول"، "استریپ تیز"، "بر روی اقیانوس" و... در ایران پیش از انقلاب، بارها روی صحنه یا در تله ویزیون اجرا شده اند.

در مورد "تیاتر ابزورد" اینجا را بخوانید
http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_...
Dimitris Kentrotis
a critique of communism from a member of the PUWP. priceless.
Anna
Feb 28, 2009 Anna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Anna by: My sister bought it
Collection of satirical short stories - great compilation of Mrożek's style. I liked the story The Cooperative The one about a cooperative, which was providing drinking companions for lonely ones. The cooperative also has people for special assignments - former priest, drinking poets. Great.
Vincent
Running the gamut from slight to brilliant, these sketches or vignettes or ultra-shorts (whatever works) were compelling, hilarious, and perplexing. The collection worked like a book of poems; not every bit connected with me, but the ones that did made a deep impression. My kind of book.
Cristina
histórias muito curtas. absurdo, irónico. imaginem um master and margarita, mas ao invés de as histórias absurdas se interligarem numa história maior, aqui encontram-se isoladas.
Gabriela
Me ha encantando. Son cuentos imaginativos, líricos, divertidos y tristes, a la vez. Una agradable sorpresa con cada uno.
Rosana Hermann
Funny in a very particular way, very clever stories, sometimes surreal, but always covering political criticism.
Des Small
Lugubriously didactic whimsy from (but in protest at) Communist Poland!
Abnoos
Satiric, short, to the point, symbolic !
Heinrich Faust
Think of Woody Allen, born in Poland aftet WWII.
Homo
fiftys poland satire...ftw
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Sławomir Mrożek (born June 29, 1930, died August 15, 2013) was a Polish dramatist and writer.

Mrożek joined the Polish United Workers' Party during the reign of Stalinism in the People's Republic of Poland, and made a living as a political journalist.

In the late 1950s Mrożek begun writing plays. His first play, Policja (The Police), was published in 1958. Mrożek emigrated to France in 1963 and then...more
More about Sławomir Mrożek...
Tango Wesele w Atomicach The Emigrants Baltazar: Autobiografia Listy Lem-Mrożek  1956-1978

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