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The Complete Fiction of Bruno Schulz: The Street of Crocodiles, Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,747 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
The Street of Crocodiles in the Polish city of Drogobych is a street of memories and dreams where recollections of Bruno Schulz's uncommon boyhood and of the eerie side of his merchant family's life are evoked in a startling blend of the real and the fantastic. Most memorable - and most chilling - is the portrait of the author's father, a maddened shopkeeper who imports ra ...more
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published November 1st 1989 by Walker & Company
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Apr 28, 2016 Teresa rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Teresa by: Fionnuala

This is like nothing I’ve read before. Take Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust and Jorge Luis Borges; shake them up; rearrange the splinters into a collage of expressionism; and still this is like nothing I’ve read before.

A father becomes a cockroach, a large bird, a crustacean; an aunt burns in a fit of anger into a pile of ashes. The young narrator remembers a book, the Book of all Books, from when he was even younger and despairs at his family’s cavalier attitude when he discovers its fate. A pos
Jun 02, 2015 Tristan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“On Saturday afternoons I used to go for a walk with my mother. From the dusk of the hallway, we stepped at once into the brightness of the day. The passerby, bathed in melting gold, had their eyes half-closed against the glare, as if they were drenched with honey, upper lips were drawn back, exposing the teeth. Everyone in this golden day wore that grimace of heat–as if the sun had forced his worshippers to wear identical masks of gold. The old and the young, women and children, greeted each ot ...more
Jul 06, 2007 peg rated it it was amazing
I became aware of Bruno Schultz while reading The Messiah of Stokholm by Cynthia Ozik and decided to read the works of this seemingly obscure author. Schultz's work contains some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read. I don't understand why this author is not more widely known. I read it slowly, savoring the language and enjoying the stories as told by this exceptional Jewish holocaust victim. Thank goodness for writers like Cynthia Ozik whose goal it is to expose great but little-known a ...more
Dec 03, 2010 Leanna rated it really liked it
Another book that came up in two of my classes this semester. Bruno Schulz (1892-1942) was a Polish writer. His output was not huge (he was gunned down during World War II) and mainly consisted of two collections of short stories: "The Street of the Crocodiles" and "Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass." Both take Schulz's childhood as the focal point and both deeply reimagine it. I guess you could call Schulz's style magical realism. For example, during the course of the two collections, ...more
Oct 21, 2016 Isabelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mocht iemand zeggen dat Bruno Schulz onder invloed van LSD, of een Poolse variant daarvan, schreef, dan zou me dat niet verbazen. Schulz beschrijft lagen van de werkelijkheid waar je met je normale, door de linkerhersenhelft gedomineerde brein niet bij kan. Lagen waarin de dingen op een soort van moleculair betekenisniveau uiteenspatten en nieuwe verbindingen maken. Voor sommigen is het de kindertijd, die Schulz op deze wijze weer tot leven brengt. Mij voelt het toch eerder aan als geniale hallu ...more
Erwin Maack
May 07, 2015 Erwin Maack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"No momento em que minha atenção se afasta da ordem regular das linhas escritas e acompanha a complexidade movente que nenhuma frase pode conter ou exaurir, me sinto próximo de entender que, do outro lado das palavras, há algo que busca sair do silêncio, busca significar por intermédio da linguagem, como dando golpes no muro de uma prisão." Ítalo Calvino
Jun 04, 2007 Ben rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Utter, incomprehensible beauty from a tragically ignored writer of great vision.
I was introduced to Schultz through the equally exquisite theatrical adaptation of his life and works 'The Street of Crocodiles' by Theatre de Complicite, in London. It blew me away with it's virtuoso style and breathtaking visuals, but there is something far quiter, intimate and subsequently powerful about Schultz's original text.
May 23, 2012 Dwight added it
My review

In July my father left to take the waters; he left me with my mother and my older brother at the mercy of the summer days, white from the heat and stunning. Stupefied by the light, we leafed through that great book of the holiday, all of its pages ablaze with splendour; their sickly sweet pulp, deep within, made from golden pears.

Adela would return on luminous mornings, like Pomona from the fire of the enkindled day, tipping from her basket the colourful beauty of the sun: glistening wi
Apr 08, 2010 Duffy rated it it was ok

Finally gave up on this and returned it to the library today. While the writing style itself was quite nice, and one of the reasons I kept at it for as long as I did, I could never really get into the actual content of the stories.
Mar 13, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tussen het dwarrelen van mijn gedachten door, hebben Schulz' woorden en prachtige zinnen me kunnen verleiden. Met name 'de Kaneelwinkels' nodigt uit tot herlezen, waardoor het aantal sterren van deze recensie zeker nog kan oplopen.
May 04, 2008 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bruno Schulz and his version of magical realism older than Marquez is great. I love the wicked humour. Great.
Feb 29, 2008 Eoin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers
Unbelievable. Totally perfect in that crazy Borges/Kafka way, but denser. Read it right now.
Jan 03, 2014 Dagna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Chcemy stworzyć po raz wtóry człowieka na obraz i podobieństwo manekina."

Prose as memorable and unique as the brushstrokes of Marc Chagall"
By sally tarbox on 15 October 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
Two collections of prose fiction in one volume - I have only read The Street of Crocodiles.
This is an utterly weird book; it reads in one way as a series of autobiographical scenes from the author's youth in pre-war Galicia, Poland. Yet while the narratives talk of his parents, the weather and the family draper's store, they go on to dream-like flights of fancy, reminiscent
Goedele Billen
Dit boek kan ik niet recenseren. Ik kan hiervan enkel een indruk opschrijven. Ik lees het ook niet volledig . Maar ik ben zeer blij dat ik Schulz heb leren kennen, ik begrijp waarom hij tot de wereldliteratuur behoort. Wat een rijke taal, wat een sfeerschepping! Het is soms grappig, heel beeldend, bijna tastbaar, proefbaar. Ik las in een recensie: 'je moet ervan houden, maar geheel onberoerd zal zijn werk niemand laten'. En dat klopt. Het is surrealistisch, bizar, maar het grijpt mij als non-ade ...more
Ary Adler
Feb 14, 2017 Ary Adler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, to-re-read
All-time favourite.
Feb 08, 2017 Monika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They are not short stories, they are sketches. Beautiful and weird portraits of family, town and nature painted with words.
Dec 19, 2016 Liz rated it liked it
Some stories were amazing and I would cherish again (Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, Cinnamon Shops, Night of the Great Season, and that story about the postage stamp album that I wish I remembered the name of...). The others were a bit wordy and difficult to pay attention though
Aug 09, 2014 Lizzie rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-short-story
Perhaps a bit mischievously, Shulz has created archetypes for after the Fall, if there was no concept of "before the Fall" and only an overgrown, lurid garden after the fact. There is frequent suggestion that something is missing or faulty, but no effort is made to excavate for or speculate about an ideal; rather, what is present is described ardently with layers and more layers of persistent lushness. Shulz does this with a brilliant command of language and so much love, that very quickly, you ...more
J.M. Hushour
Feb 23, 2013 J.M. Hushour rated it really liked it
If I had to describe this wacky guy I'd put him somewhere on a i-beam between Franz Kafka and Robert Musil. The former because the tone and plots of these little vingettes are often surreal and downright disturbing, the latter because pretty much every page is a poetic epiphany. That's actually part of the problem: Schulz's prose is so thick, you get bogged down in metaphor after metaphor after metaphor. It's a little exhausting. However, his given name is Bruno and there are some wickedly fanta ...more
May 25, 2010 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favourites
I've only read The Street of Crocodiles stories from this so far, but I was blown away by the imaginative scope of the writing. I guess you could call it surreal, or impressionistic writing. Dream-like. It's a reminder that there are exceptions to repeated rules to kill off darlings and pare down language to the bare essentials in modern writing. What would these stories be if not for their flights of fancy? It doesn't feel meaningless or purely whimsical to me either, but like another state of ...more
Nov 05, 2015 Quiver rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-english
Magical realism mixed with dreams, Central European style.

Why read these, or any other, stories? Because there are things, as Bruno Schulz puts it, " that cannot ever occur with any precision. They are too big and too magnificent to be contained in mere facts. They are merely trying to occur, they are checking whether the ground of reality can carry them. And they quickly withdraw, fearing to lose their integrity in the frailty of realisation."
[Paraphrase and quotation taken from the foreword b
Bart Van den Bosch
Feb 22, 2012 Bart Van den Bosch rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, fiction
(This review is of the first part "Street of crocodiles").

The book consists of chapters that are almost short stories in the sense that they are very loosely linked to each other.
The narrative is very poetic and often the imagery crosses the line of realism and becomes hallucinatory. The richness of the imagery colours otherwise mundane scenes and events. Nothing much happens in the real world but in the minds of the protagonists epic events take place.
I cannot compare the translation to the o
Sep 03, 2012 Riet rated it liked it
Dit boek krijgt alleen maar heel goede recensies. Ik ben het daar niet helemaal mee eens. Schulz beschrijft goed het leven in een Midden-europese provinciestad aan het begin van de vorige eeuw. Maar naar mijn smaak dikt hij het allemaal net even te veel aan. Je wordt moe van het barokke proza. Er zijn wel heel mooie verhalen tussen, vooral waar het over zijn vader gaat. Geen idee waar de waarheid ophoudt en een soort magisch realisme begint. Verder doet hij me aan Kafka denken (hij laat b.v. zij ...more
Sean Masterson
Jul 05, 2012 Sean Masterson rated it really liked it
There is much philosophical rhapsody here with an undercurrent of the author's obsession with the calves of young girls. A lot of it comes off as though someone were knocking at Bruno's door as he raced to get word to page. Unfinished thoughts perhaps.

A nazi soldier put an end to his writing as he strolled down an Austro-Hungarian sidewalk. "A writer's writer," they say. I enjoyed the moments, here and there, that might have placed Bruno alongside Kafka and Borges.
Jana LaRue
Jul 10, 2014 Jana LaRue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that I hadn't heard of his book or it's author until JSF published Tree of Codes last year.

However, I was not a bit disappointed to discover that it was so lyrical, so poetic, and so beautiful as it is.

Though the stories themselves are rather mundane and unspectacular, the writing (and drawings!) is so beautiful and flowing that you'll find yourself in love with every dramatic metaphor and hyperbolic description.
Ursula Pflug
Dec 21, 2009 Ursula Pflug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a delightful, strange book and one I'd almost forgotten. I'd love to reread it one day. Somewhere on the net there's a wonderful review by Jessica Amanda Salmonson.

Oh, here it is.

I hope Jessica won't mind me posting the link. Violet Books deserves a visit anyway.
May 26, 2008 Isaac rated it liked it
When it comes to ridiculous bureaucracy and unseen, dominating powers, Kafka usually dominates. This compendium offers a collection of stories that shed light on one of the lesser-known Eastern European absurdists. The translation's prose borders on the florid, but the novelty of the stories is worth investigating.
Aug 08, 2012 Anton rated it it was amazing
Often times while reading this book I stop and smile in awe at the way Bruno Schultz strings words together.This book has caused many a thought bubble for me.Absolutely beautiful and stimulating. A bit dense at times,but pausing to absorb is part of the experience.Infinitely imaginative...
Nov 10, 2008 Brian marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-queue
Fictions of Bruno Schulz: The Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass by Bruno Schulz (1988)
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Bruno Schulz was a Polish writer, fine artist, literary critic and art teacher of Jewish descent. He was regarded as one of the great Polish-language prose stylists of the 20th century.

At a very early age, Schulz developed an interest in the arts. He studied at a gymnasium in Drohobycz from 1902 to 1910, and proceeded to study architecture at Lwów University. In 1917 he briefly studied architectu
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