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The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 25. März 2008

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"Every time I open his books, I'm amazed anew to discover how this writer, a single human being who rarely left his home town, created for us an entire world, an alternate dimension of reality. . . . His [stories] create a fantastic universe, a private mythology of one family, and are written in a language that brims with life, a language that is itself the main character of the stories and is the only dimension in which they could possibly exist. . . . On every page, life [is] raging, exploding with vitality, suddenly worthy of its name."
-David Grossman, The New Yorker

"A masterpiece of comic writing; grave yet dignified, domestically plain yet poetic, exultant and forgiving, marvelously inventive, shy, and never raw."
-The New York Review of Books

"Bruno Schulz was one of the great writers, one of the great transmogrifiers of the world into words. . . . [His] verbal art strikes us-stuns us, even-with its overload of beauty."
-John Updike

"One of the most original imaginations in modern Europe."
-Cynthia Ozick

"Schulz cannot be easily classified. He can be called a surrealist, a symbolist, an expressionist, a modernist. . . . He wrote sometimes like Kafka, sometimes like Proust, and at times succeeded in reaching depths that neither of them reached. . . . If Schulz had been allowed to live out his life, he might have given us untold treasures, but what he did in his short life was enough to make him one of the most remarkable writers who ever lived."
-Isaac Bashevis Singer

"Rich in fantasy, sensuous in their apprehension of the living world, elegant in style, witty, underpinned by a mystical but coherent idealistic aesthetic, The Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass were unique and startling productions, seeming to come out of nowhere. . . . Schulz was incomparably gifted as an explorer of his own inner life, which is at the same time the recollected inner life of his childhood and his own creative workings. From the first comes the charm and freshness of his stories, from the second their intellectual power."
-J. M. Coetzee, The New York Review of Books

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Amazon.com: 26 Rezensionen
101 von 104 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
If I could save one life from history -- 7. Juni 2008
Von Guttersnipe Das - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
If I could cancel one murder and save one life from history, I'd save Bruno Schulz, killed by the Nazis in 1942. If I could save one lost book, I'd save Schulz's 'Messiah'. I can't. At least there is this book of strange treasures, Schulz's collected works. Actually, two books are included here: 'Street of Crocodiles' and 'Sanatorium Under the Sign of The Hourglass'.

The first, Schulz's masterpiece, is only 100 pages long. I could never choose a favorite book, but this is the one I reread most often. Any attempt by me to descibe its contents is a mockery. Reading it is like peering into a strange, dark painting: a mad father, a bewitching sister, a dark corner where something never before seen grows (almost) to life. This book may only take you a day to read, but I promise it will be a illumined and unforgettable day.

'Sanatorium', which I think was written earlier, seems in part a workshop for what 'Crocodiles' would become, but this is appropriate for Schulz: he is the master of life half-created: the life of mannequins, mad relatives, stuffed birds.

My only practical advice is: allow yourself to skim the surreal novella "Spring" if you get bogged down in it the first time you try. Just make sure you don't miss the rest of the stories!

There is nothing else like this book--and this one book is all there is. I envy anyone reading it for the first time.
70 von 74 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Like nothing I've ever read before 28. Februar 2009
Von Bryan Byrd - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
It's unusual that I'm unprepared or taken by surprise by a book - years of haunting the cramped and poorly lit bookshelves of second hand shops as well as the thousands of dusty, musty blurbs and short introductions I've read over that time cast a broad net. Though I may not be on intimate terms with a particular author, all my research has led me to the assumption that I at least know of his literary cousins or other members of his extended family. This rather boneheaded approach to literature has no doubt led me to pass up certain worthy books under the mistaken impression that I've already absorbed them through some sort of bookshelf osmosis. On the flip side, though, I'm continually searching for relative unknowns and obscure authors, always looking for that feeling of discovery when my efforts are rewarded with someone truly unique.

And so it was with Bruno Schulz and the surreal dreamscape of his 'Street Of Crocodiles'. Previously unknown to me - it was actually this site that recommended him to me - but as I read through the reviews and picked out descriptions such as 'Kafkaesque', and 'Middle European' and others, a picture began to form in my mind. A picture that is, safe to say, completely insufficient to even begin describing what I actually found inside this strange and densely imagined book.

My own lightweight adjectives may add to the misinterpretation. First, I'd like to address the easiest one to correct - though 'The Street of Crocodiles' may adhere to the loosest definition of 'novel' (as some have described it), when I tried to read it as such, I was nearly overwhelmed trying to arrange it into a coherent picture in my mind. Only after a second reading, taking each titled section as an isolated event, was I able to glean a better understanding of (what I believe to be) Shulz's patterns and aims. Both 'The Street of Crocodiles' and 'Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass' are constructed the same way - the characters of each story generally remain the same, as does the setting and the style, except the apparent death of a family member at the conclusion of one story does not preclude his appearance in the next.

In fact, Schulz revisits the demise of his father over and over again, in both collections. Trying to read either 'Crocodiles' or 'Sanatorium' then in the manner of a traditional narrative is mind-bendingly awkward, even allowing for the possible flux of an unreliable narrator.

And except for the notable exception of the story "Spring", from 'Sanatorium', I don't think that the unreliable narrator was Schulz's aim. Though almost every story takes off on a flight of fantasy and unreality, I think he was looking for another way of getting at the truth - truth as seen through the eyes of a child, or the truth that is so demanding at the moment we wake up from a dream, but fades as consciousness returns. In order to immerse us in such conditions, Schulz indulges in surprising, fantastic, sometimes nonsensical imagery - and by this constant barrage of word pictures and metaphor, he jolts me out of my mundane sense of structure I've built up over the years. I've read how some people compare this to the Magic Realism of modern Latin American writers, and I'm probably not qualified to make a comparison, but I will say this - I don't think Schulz's intention was ever to depart from reality. It's only that the reality that he was trying to portray is from a perspective that is so different from the accepted version. If magic happens in Schulz's writing, it's because that's the way his character saw it.

There are times when it all seems too much, as if he's overplayed his hand. One of my biggest hurdles to finishing this collection was how Schulz could elicit such a dramatic sensation in a paragraph that my mind would skip along this tangent trail as I continued to read but not comprehend. That is until I'd come back to my senses and have absolutely no idea what was happening. In a lesser work, I can do this and not really miss much. With Schulz, there is no skimming. It's full immersion or nothing.

This sort of writing isn't for everyone. The reader who prefers his authors to stick to reality will toss this book away quickly. Its structure is not built around a typical story arc - its more as if he's trying to portray an alternate mirror world that needs its own language in order to transport the reader there. But once we arrive at that vantage point, we can then look back through the mirror at our former life and see it anew in all its twisted vain wonder.
28 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Tales of the Demiurge 11. Mai 2009
Von Lennox of Orange - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Some of the most beautiful writing of the 20th century is contained in the fiction of Bruno Schulz. Although he has not yet received the recognition here in the West that he deserves, his writings are every bit as mystifying and powerful as Kafka's. As others have stated, this one volume contains all of Shulz's stories that are essential reading. This is the one to buy, other collections are always only about half of what you should be getting.

The works of Bruno Schulz are definitely five star, I cannot highly recommend this enough.
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Such stuff as dreams are made on... 3. Februar 2009
Von Keith A. Comess - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Bruno Schulz emerged from the now-vanished world of "Middle Europa". He left an indelible, but largely unrecognized stamp on modern literature.

Schulz's work is probably unique, not only in its artistic insights, but also in its precociousness relative to contemporary novelistic styles and preferences: the writing is redolent of twisted dreams, bizarre, fantastic and hallucinatory metaphors, queer observations, evocatively strange insights and, when combined with his Goya-like drawings, generates a perversely weird and haunting series of short novels.

His work seems to prefigure South American "magical realism", though the "supernaturalism" of that genre differs from Schulz's preoccupations. It has certain parallels to some of Kafka's work ("Metamorphosis" and "In the Penal Colony" come to mind) though the two writers were unknown to each other. The pure strangeness also evokes certain members of the school of early 20th century fantasy writers such as Lord Dunsany and Mervyn Peake. Frankly, if Albert Hoffman's pharmacologic discovery was known to Schultz, I would attribute some of the startling writing to a ergot-induced dream state.

Regrettably, Schulz was tragically, like so many others, consigned to a tragic and early oblivion by the Nazis. As a coda to that fact, an SS officer was so taken with Schultz's drawings that he extended him "special protection" in so far as he was permitted a small life outside the death ambit proscribed for non-conformers to National Socialist intellectual, cultural, religious and other rigid proscriptions. Frankly, he would not have prospered under the Stalinist brand of Marxism, either.

Despite his untimely end, his small body of work will likely garner critical acclaim as long as serious literature merits intelligent scrutiny. If you are entranced by the paintings of Heironymous Bosch and transfixed by the "Caprices" etchings of Goya; if you appreciate the strange, wonderful and exotic in literature, you should find tremendous gratification in Schulz.
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Unforgettable, utterly haunting 7. März 2011
Von Helen Maryles Shankman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
My father survived World War II hiding in a bunker under the town of Drohobych, so I feel eerily connected to this man and his work.

It would be fair to call Bruno Schulz Poland's greatest twentieth century writer. This collection of stories changes the very definition of what a short story should be. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end, yes, but the writing is best described as delirious, hypnotic, dreamlike. You don't read Schulz for the plot; you read for the prose, the intensely sensual visuals, the way the words unfurl like the leaves of a magical vine. Inanimate objects struggle to come to life. Secret rooms grow strange, trapped gardens. A boy blows away with a gust of wind. His father conjures a flock of exotic birds from the pages of a picture book.

The details of his life are the stuff of legend. Bruno Schulz was a shy, frail, brilliant artist, living in the far eastern Polish town of Drohobych. When his father died, he took on the job of art teacher at the local high school to support his mother, sister and nephew.

Drohobych was a particularly brutal place to be in the cauldron of World War II. Thousands of Jews were marched into the nearby forests and killed, or transported to Treblinka to be gassed. For a year, he found an improbable protector and patron in the person of Felix Landau, an art-loving Nazi whose war diary is well known. The artist and writer Bruno Schulz, a man so gentle that he fed flies sugar water so that they would survive the winter, was shot to death on November 19, 1942, at the intersection of Czaki and Mickiewicz Streets, on the eve of his planned escape.

These lushly worded stories give no warning of the conflagration that is to follow, but the reader's knowledge of Schulz's fate inescapably informs every line. Read "The Street of Crocodiles" if you're interested in what was lost in the fires of the Holocaust, read it if you want to be consumed by fiction that burns like poetry. But please, read this book.
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