Kathrina's Reviews > The Street of Crocodiles

The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz
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Jan 19, 11

bookshelves: polish
Read from January 15 to 19, 2011

I have failed this book. I expected to love it, but I cannot. If I want animate wallpaper that pulses with narrative, I will go to The Yellow Wallpaper. If I want the magical realism of a demented father conjuring birds and jungle-scapes, I will go to Garcia Marquez G.. If I want a searing set of heat and light and dusty longing, I will go to The Time of the Doves. If I want to overflow my shopping cart with adjectives, metaphors, and overlong descriptive phrases, I will shop this outlet mall of prose. Oh my god, outlet mall?!! Yes, go ahead, throw stones at me, I deserve it, but this title has taken me nowhere but an empty dull Polish winter, with nowhere to look but the oncoming rush of holocaust. I'll soon see what the Quay brothers do with it, but I fear I can't be the reader this title wants.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Evan (new) - added it

Evan I saw the Quay Brothers film and had no idea what was going on. So maybe you should stop where you are and leave this material behind. Good review. I had this book marked previously and still intend to try it, someday.


Kathrina I'm so conflicted...Why is it I can read poetry and luxuriate in the image, watch an experimental film and luxuriate in that image, but give me a book, and pure image is not enough?! I am hoping that the Quay brothers short will help me appreciate Schulz's image, without teasing me to force a narrative out of it. Sometimes I like to get lost, but I want to know where I am when I'm found again. No?
Thanks for your comment, Evan.


message 3: by Evan (new) - added it

Evan Well, 160 pages is short, but might seem a bit much even at that if it was nothing but imagery. I can't solve your conflict, but possibly your amenability to filmic or poetic image is that poetry is shorter and more concentrated and thus does not require many hours or days of reading while film is passive and much of the work is taken out of your hands.


Kathrina Evan, help me out here. I finally watched the Quay Brothers, and though I enjoyed their art and appreciate their vision, I still have no idea what it had to do with Street of Crocodiles. I even listened to the directors' comments. A poem illustrating a poem? Inspired by, yes, but not an interpretation.


message 5: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Klappenskoff I searched this out when I read Nicole Krauss' "The History of Love", because it plays a big part in the novel.
I had assumed that I would enjoy it just as much, but I'm not sure.
I'll still give it a go.


Kathrina I remember really liking History of Love, but I can't remember much -- don't recall Street of Crocodiles in it -- was it a connection between the "old man" characters? So many authors claim influence from this book, i.e. Tree of Codes, there's more I can't remember right now. I don't know where I missed that boat...


message 7: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Klappenskoff Kathrina wrote: "I remember really liking History of Love, but I can't remember much -- don't recall Street of Crocodiles in it -- was it a connection between the "old man" characters? So many authors claim influence from this book, i.e. Tree of Codes, there's more I can't remember right now. I don't know where I missed that boat..."
I didn't realise that Tree of Codes was already out.
There's another reason not to delay on The Pale King!
Krauss and Foer are married, so I wanted to investigate why Street of Crocodiles was so important for the two of them.


Kathrina Lit'ry couples...DFW and Mary Karr, that always kind of baffles me when I forget it and remember it again...


message 9: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Klappenskoff Kathrina wrote: "Lit'ry couples...DFW and Mary Karr, that always kind of baffles me when I forget it and remember it again..."

Weird, isn't it: I've bought all three of her books in the last three months, and I either didn't know or totally forgot they had had a relationship.


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