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The Street of Crocodiles
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1001 book reviews > The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz

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Diane | 1997 comments Rating: 4 Stars

This is a fictionalized collection of stories about the author's childhood in Galicia at the turn of the 20th century. Schulz's prose is poetic and highly descriptive in a way that heightens one's senses. Schulz was an art teacher by profession and his stories are as pictorial and artistic as a work of visual art.

Overall, not a book to read for plot's sake, but a treat for those who love beautiful writing.

Gail (gailifer) | 1241 comments A short collection of childhood tales from the point of view of a young boy. The main character in the book is his father, Jacob, who is undergoing a transformation through an illness or mental breakdown and the primary side character is the housekeeper Adela. The boy's view of the world includes domestic day to day interactions and also adventures that would normally be seen in a dream state. However, the reader is never allowed to separate the two into waking and sleeping. In fact there is only waking, so the whole collection gives the reader insights into the various worlds the mind of the young boy inhabits. The boy is dismissive of everyone else in the world really, but the author is so visually focused that we can imagine clearly a world in which a young boy sent home to get his father's wallet finds himself riding in a carriage without a driver, or who views his father's collection of odd birds as really being a collection of deformed flights of fancy who die grotesque deaths. The psychological underpinnings for the boy's musings are sketched by the author out of any chronology (character's who pass away may be alive in the next story) and one only tangentially get's the boy's emotions. For example, he does not say that he hates him mother, is fixated on the housekeeper and completely doesn't understand his father, and yet you get his state of mind.
The writing (and translation) are quite finely pitched to the visual.
I gave it 4 stars.

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