UConnCo-op's Reviews > The Street of Crocodiles

The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz
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Jul 12, 09

bookshelves: fiction
Read in July, 2009

Whenever anyone asked me what I was reading last week, and the unfortunately somewhat unfamiliar title "Street of Crocodiles" came up, I tried to give a succinct explanation: Bruno Schulz is sort of like a more sentimental, gentler Kafka with a dash of Sacher-Masoch thrown in. That's probably too facile of a blurb, but the comparisons between Kafka and Schulz are unavoidable--the father-figure in Schulz, bedridden, possessed by strange fixations, occasionally inflamed by the apocalyptic passions of a lesser Old Testament prophet, could be the elderly cousin of Kafka's more sinister yet similar papa.

The connected stories in this book are brief but crammed with description of a disappeared old-world city on the brink of the terrible twentieth century. Like Charlotte Gilman's wallpaper, even the inanimate objects in Schulz's city crawl with life: flocks of taxidermy birds crowd the skies, mounds of dusty fabrics turn the inside of the family shop into an antediluvian landscape. Schulz's Poland exists in the furrow between modernization (which replaces his beloved 'cinnamon shops' with the salacious Street of Crocodiles) and the coming devastation of WWII.

Dora
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