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The Collected Fiction Of One Of The Most Original Imaginations In Modern Europe Cynthia Ozick Bruno Schulz S Untimely Death At The Hands Of A Nazi Stands As One Of The Great Losses To Modern Literature During His Lifetime, His Work Found Little Critical Regard, But Word Of His Remarkable Talents Gradually Won Him An International Readership This Volume Brings Together His Complete Fiction, Including Three Short Stories And His Final Surviving Work, Sanatorium Under The Sign Of The Hourglass Illustrated With Schulz S Original Drawings, This Edition Beautifully Showcases The Distinctive Surrealist Vision Of One Of The Twentieth Century S Most Gifted And Influential Writers


10 thoughts on “Sklepy cynamonowe / Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą

  1. says:

    Diary Review by a chorus of voices 1.00 March 3rd 2016 voice of the Reviewer As I was reading through this book, a great many thoughts and impressions formed in my mind, and there they have lain since, each waiting for a chance to push itself into a prime position in this review space So, for the moment, I m just sitting on them, frantically trying to hold them down as I think how to shape them in a way that will be vaguely comprehensible to someone who hasn t read this book doesn t live inside my head But the task will certainly involve excluding some of those many impressions, and I can sense already that I ll have a rebellion on my hands as rogue thoughts steal into the review while I m asleep I will have to be very vigilant, perhaps enter into some kind of contract with the review space so that it will refuse entry to thoughts that don t carry a pass signed by me personally I ll be watching this space. 3.30 March 3rd voices of the Reviewer s stray thoughts We are the tandeta, the reviewer s stray thoughts, and though we have no clothes as yet, we are determined to camp in this review space Bruno Schulz himself has given us permission and we defy anyone to remove us 13.00 March 4th voice of the Reviewer I had to look up the word tandeta which has just appeared in the review space see above and comment 4 and I discovered that it is an almost untranslatable Polish word which Schulz uses regularly, a word that means variously trash , shoddy , cast off It also means the kind of market where such second rate goods can be found, a flea market, for example Of course that implies that the group of decrepit military wax figures which the narrator frees from a wax museum in the story called Spring , and which you can see in the drawing above, are declaring that my stray thoughts are second rate That s a deep blow.I had marshalled a few of those thoughts into a coherent paragraph earlier this morning and was quite pleased with the result Now I m not so sure but I refuse to be intimidated by a bunch of moth eaten ex generals so I ll post the paragraph anyway Schulz is a magician From the blank interior of his top hat, he pulls streams and streams of multi hued words, words that separate and reform into pink doves, blue buzzards, red storks, yellow pelicans, each with long ribbons of syllables dangling from their beaks And when the ribbons break off, they float away on the breeze, looping and dipping in arabesques across a papery sky, spelling out stories, one stranger than the next, stories for then, stories for now, stories for ever. 15.00 March 5th voices of the Reviewer s stray thoughts We have to say about tandeta Schulz s stories give a lot of attention to what the world generally thinks of as only fit for the rubbish heap One story centres on an old almanac the narrator loved to look through as a child and which he later comes across when most of its pages have been torn out to serve some domestic purpose, perhaps to light the fire in the stove He somehow endows the ragged remains of this old catalogue of ancient dates and obsolete advertisements with the properties of every book that ever existed It becomes The Book of Books And so we realise that from tandeta or rubbish, the narrator believes something truly beautiful can always be created This experience is repeated again and again throughout the stories as the things people generally seek to discard become instead things of beauty A faded curtain stiff with dust, dead flies on a windowpane, moss grown paths, old tree roots, such things are constantly celebrated Bruno Schulz writes Under The Sign of the Rubbish Heap 15.55 March 5th voice of the Penguin Classics EditionSince it seems that anything can happen on this review page, the book itself surely has a right to speak Yes, this edition of Bruno Schulz s collected stories is claiming space to announce that what the reader gets inside the covers of this book is nothing less than magical thirty stories and novellas plus thirty illustrations by Schulz himself.The stories are drawn from the two collections published in the author s lifetime, Cinnamon Shops from 1933 and Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass , from 1937 though written earlier than the stories in Cinnamon Shops plus a few other stories that had appeared in periodicals and journals around that time.Not all of the stories are illustrated but where they occur, the fantastical nature of the drawings complements the hallucinatory narratives perfectly, introducing a further layer of eccentricity to the work However, even when there are no illustrations, the words cast surreal images onto the screen of the reader s mind Father was listening In the silence of the night his ear seemed to grow larger and to reach out beyond the window a fantastic coral, a red polypus watching the chaos of the night.The translation in this edition was done by Celina Wieniewska, and the rich and exciting language of the stories is the proof of the success of her work, which was not an easy task as David A Goldfarb points out in the introduction According to Goldfarb, Bruno Schulz uses a number of words that are so obscure even in Polish that Wieniewska was obliged to be very creative in order to render them in English This Penguin Classics edition, standing in for the author who would certainly have been exceedingly grateful to her, bows before Wieniewska s talent and would kiss her feet 20.50 March 5th voices of the Reviewer s stray thoughtsThe peacock feather eye peeping through the keyhole, the pattern on wallpaper shifting to echo the father s frowns, the squares of a parquet floor endlessly counting themselves in horizontal creaks and vertical cracks, chimney smoke weaving to avoid the wind, lamps with arms akimbo, mirrors that appear elderly, everything in a Schulz story, even the shadow on the wall, is personified so that the reader should not be at all surprised when the book the stories inhabit itself speaks aloud as it has done above Have you ever noticed swallows rising in flocks from between the lines of certain books One should read the flight of these birds.. 2.00 am March 6th voice of the Review PageHow many possibilities we provide, we, the humble review pages of this bookreview world We offer a luminous space where a winking curser waits patiently to receive the reviewer s words, words which may be written in a thousand different ways depending on the reviewer in question, sometimes baldly, sometimes boldly, sometimes in hints and ellipses, dashes and dots The gaps that result have to be surmised by the vague guesses and suppositions of review readers and we always offer our sympathy for the predicament they find themselves in, especially if they feel called upon to comment after reading At other times we are packed tight with dense blocks of severe text, and not a paragraph break occurs to offer a breathing space Our sighs are then as audible as the readers who attempt to decipher us, bless their dedicated souls Please release us, we entreat, and when occasionally a careful reader selects a phrase, a sentence, or on a good day, an entire paragraph, to copy into a comment box, how we cheer and applaud at the break it brings to the tedium When we re very bored indeed we call in Autocorrect and let her loose We sit patiently like spiders in a web, waiting for an unsuspecting reader to come along, and then we roll about laughing as they scroll back and forth scanning the autocorrected words in a state of the greatest perplexity Such fun especially if the referees are posturing from a ballsy scream and can t feck back easily to see how the next has appalled Our favourite reviewers are those who use html to vary our presentation by means of italics, spoilers, links and images Imagine the sport as we take bets on which links refuse to work and which images fail in the days that follow The truth is, it s very easy to interfere with html code if we breathe out in a vigorous way, a vital element can fly off like a button from an overcoat That can be an amusing exercise.Needless to add, our favourite readers are those who pause to press the Like button with a good firm touch no light, tickly ones, please Then, the utter thrill there is nothing to compare with it 12.12 March 6th voices of The End of the Review committeeSpeaking in our capacity as members of the final section of this review, we have voted to set it in place here and now, and to block any further delays and prevarications in the finalisation of this review Three days is than enough time for a review to be ongoing there is a limit to everything And while we are aware that certain topics have not been covered or only very sketchily, we don t support the idea that any review should ever seek to be totally comprehensive The shorter the better is our motto, especially as such a policy allows The End of the Review to be reached speedily As to the length of The End of the Review , we are flexible on that point since everyone agrees that the ending is the most important part of any piece of writing We deem it relevant to note here also that this particular review is playful than we might like, a fact we tolerate in this case because it underlines that Bruno Schulz tells most of his stories from the point of view of a child with a very vivid imagination and a very extravagant taste in metaphor, at least in our opinion As in this review, Schulz s stories are filled with distortions of time and space, both being given life and agency over their surroundings, something we are also less than comfortable with, let it be noted The result of such manipulation is a certain warped effect, as if viewing an event through the glass of a very old window where sometimes the view is completley clear and at other times completely fuzzy, not ideal in our considered opinion.Further, as in the sections of this review which, in spite of their differences in style and tone, are nevertheless part of a whole, Schulz s stories share characters and locations so that instead of reading as individual pieces, they rather build into one long novel, a fact which may offer satisfaction to the reader who prefers novels to short stories Knowing that Schulz was born quite a few years after his brother and sister, and when his father had begun to grow old encourages us to postulate that these stories contain many autobiographical elements since they mostly feature an elderly father and his young son The mother and a servant called Adela also roam from story to story and provide some entertainment, Adela in particular, who, with her broom constantly to hand, sweeps away entire heaps of tandeta whenever she gets the chance, something we would have enjoyed doing in this review had we but a broom.We quite liked Adela.


  2. says:

    The books we read in childhood don t exist any they sailed off with the wind, leaving bare skeletons behind Whoever still has in him the memory and marrow of childhood should rewrite these books as he experienced them Bruno Schulz My ideal goal is to mature into childhood That would be genuine maturity Bruno SchulzBruno Schulz was a high school art teacher, an artist and a short story writer who was killed by the Gestapo when he was 50 for straying into a non Jewish or Aryan area of his hometown of Drohobych, Poland He was unmarried, had no children, and lived all of his life in Drohobych He had a pretty long term friendship with the poet Deborah Vogel, whose parents disapproved of their relationship, but his stories in The Street of Crocodiles had their beginnings in a series of letters to Vogel 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 other with these masks, painted on their faces with thick gold paint they smiled at each other s pagan faces the barbaric smiles of Bacchus The Street of CrocodilesUrban, Polish, Jewish, dark laughter, lust Roth, Malamud, Stuart Dybek s Polish Chicago Thomas Mann, Kafka, Isaac Bashevis Singer s The Spinoza of Market Street Poe s Tales of Mystery and Imagination Baudelaire Blake Dizzy with light, we dipped into the enormous book of holidays, its pages blazing with sunshine and scented with the sweet melting pulp of golden pears The Street of CrocodilesMatter matters to Schulz He especially loves rot, fecundity, fermentation, trash, old things, antiques, things imbued through experience and ripening with memory The memory in objects A cabinet of curiosities Each item, each object, painted alive with magic Extra rooms emerge in houses, extra streets appear in the night The mythicization of reality Like Mann s imbuing stories with classical truths references Or Eliot s objective correlative But also surrealist transformations, like Kafka s metamorphosis Cockroaches figure in as equally as birds Darkness overcomes the light, finally Poetry happens when short circuits of sense occur between words Schulz Nimrod began to understand that what he was experiencing was, in spite of its appearance of novelty, something which had existed before many times before His body began to recognize situations, impressions, and objects In reality, none of these astonished him very much Faced with new circumstances, he would dip into the fount of his memory, the deep seated memory of the body, would search blindly and feverishly, and often find ready made within himself a suitable reaction the wisdom of generations, deposited in his plasma, in his nerves He found actions and decisions of which he had not been aware but which had been lying in wait, ready to emerge CrocodilesMagic matters to Schulz Matter is made of magic, at its best Mirages, fata morgana Surrealism, magical realism, mesmerism, a kind of early Steam Punk fascination that modernism had with science, with physics and its possible relationship to metaphysics A fascination with essence and the ability of the artist to capture the nature of reality Ecstasy in the every day And invention The role of the demiurge in the forging of reality Manifestations of the Unknown Joy and pain issues forth from this magic Horror emerges out of fantasy It can go either way, into light or darkness, but it is magic, either way My father was slowly fading, wilting before our eyes CrocodilesThe father in this story as mad, crazy genius, but mad Ornithologist Comic madness alternating with despair, a kind of bipolar alteration, story to story August is ecstasy, Visitation despair Dark laughter The days hardened with cold and boredom like last year s loaves of bread One began to cut them with blunt knives without appetite, with a lazy indifference Crocodiles Even in the depths of sleep, in which he had to satisfy his need for protection and love by curling himself up into a trembling ball, he could not rid himself of the feeling of loneliness and homelessness CrocodilesOdd vignettes, ephemera, anecdotes Uneven Yes Enigmatic No sense of wholeness or the well shaped Freytag s Pyramid as in The Art of the Short Story There s almost no dialogue in any of the stories Except when Father pontificates his views of the world The stories are all narrated, reported, instead of enacted Not much happens Animals talk Birds are everywhere Father becomes one of his birds But it s not about plot it s about magic The sun dried thistles shout, the plantains swell and boast their shameless flesh, the weeds salivate with glistening poison CrocodilesA fascination with maps, labyrinths, but not as sense making tools Patterns ending in wonder, not an articulation of order It s important to get lost than find your way.The best stories include Birds, Cinnamon Shops, The Street of Crocodiles, The Night of the Great Season, and The Comet Here s an excerpt of the Quay Brothers s The Street of Crocodiles stop action film


  3. says:

    These stories are a fabulous blend of romantic animism partaking of all the senses, fantastical tall tales, and wacky philosophies, all usually rendered from a precocious child s perspective His writing is distinctive and unique, but I appreciate how others reach for some kind of hybrid of Kafka, Calvino, and Borges to forge a comparative description And I have no trouble imagining likely influences on the ornate gothic fantasies of Lovecraft, the fractured fairy tales of Angela Carter, and the alternative realities of China Mieville I was already sensitized to the wonders of Schulz from references to his Street of Crocodiles in Nicole Kraus History of Love and an epigram from it in Mieville s The City and the City, but it took a wonderful review from Goodreads friend Fionnuala to really make me hunger to read this author Her extra attention to his eerie and comic drawings is definitely worth a side trip or revisit The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories My sense of the collection is best described in this late 19th century drawing by Heinrich Kley The author was a Polish speaking Jew who lived his whole life in a small town in the Galicia region formerly of the Polish Kingdom, then of the Austrian Empire, and then, after 1939, Ukraine He worked as a school teacher and illustrator and took up writing as an extension of skills developed as a storyteller to tame his unruly students He published but two slim volumes of stories in a life cut short by getting gunned down in the street by a Nazi in 1942, supposedly over a difference with another officer who kept him out of the local ghetto roundup for the camps in exchange for painting him a mural see David Grossman s Age of Genius The Legend of Bruno Schulz, The New Yorker, 2009 This edition of his work is a complete set of his collected stories and a few other pieces in a new translation by Univ of North Carolina professor Medline Levine, who has previously tackled Czeslaw Milosz and two other Polish writers This volume lacks the illustrations available in earlier editions of his work.Schulz tales often feature an imaginative boy growing up in this small town with parents who ran a cloth store on the floor below their apartment, a family which resembles that of the author s The father Jakub inspires the boy with his odd hobbies and obsessions with alternative visions of reality The boom and bust of his business often leans to the latter, so the family is often close to poverty But the boy has the world of books and the creative outlet of fantasy play with his friends in the neighborhood In the face of boring schoolwork and the grim, gray weather of fall and winter, young Bruno finds escape by applying his fertile imagination to everything he experiences Windstorms can come off as monstrously malevolent or apocalyptic in nature The advance of nightfall in seasons of short days can come off as an invasion like an epidemic of death The pestilence of dusk spread everywhere treacherously and poisonously, moved from one thing to another, and whatever it touched decayed instantly, turned black, disintegrated into rotten wood People fled from the dusk in quiet panic and suddenly leprosy was catching up with them, spilling onto their foreheads as a dark rash they lost their faces, which fell off in great, shapeless patches The mad dance of spring can be a delight to the boy, but sometimes its riot and pansexuality seems ominously out of control The family garden has one end open to the sun and full of the milk of the heavens and the airs , while at the other, darker end it turned surly and careless, letting itself go wild and unkempt, grew fierce with nettles, bustled with thistles, turned mangy with all sort of weeds There it was no longer an orchard but a paroxysm of madness, an explosion of fury, a cynical shamelessness and debauchery There, completely out of control, the barren burdock cabbage heads proliferated, opening the floodgates of their poison enormous witches, disrobing in broad daylight, shedding their ample skirts, flinging them off one after another, until their puffed up, rustling, tattered rags buried under themselves with their frantic layers the rambunctious bastard tribe.Notice his technique of piling on one metaphor after another until your brain brims over trying to hold onto the vision I got a lot of pleasure from the similar way Schulz elaborates some of the boy s fantasies one step at a time until, like with a rollercoaster, you go over the top into absurdity For example, the boy tries to construct a conception of the world through study of his friend Rudolph s stamp collection Dark, ardent, full of festering love, I took in a parade of creation, marching land, shining processions that I saw in intervals through purple eclipses, deafened by the blows of the blood beating in my heart in time to this universal march of all nations.He wonders about the nobility and refinement of the mind of Franz Josef I, Emperor of Austria Hungary, basks in the exotic colors of the flora and fauna in stamps from tropical paradises, and imagines intrigue behind the emperor s brother Maximillian getting posted to Mexico by Bonaparte as royal governor and later execution by the revolutionaries At age 10, the boy is developing a crush on a mysterious rich girl his age, Bianka, and projects all kinds of virtue behind her apparently surly reserve An encounter with her at a wax museum display featuring the royal brothers leads him to imagine her as a bastard child of Maximillian by a Mexican mistress and in need of a brave intervention on his part worthy of Victor Hugo I had lots of fun with this ornate tale whipped up out of the boy s and Schulz s fantasies The several tales about the obsessions of boy s father Jakub were the source of my greatest pleasure, almost Thurberesque in their little surprises and charm His joining the fire brigade hobby leads Jakub to bringing his buddies home to hang out, and much drinking and horseplay ensues The housekeeper Adela always finds a way to curb Jakub s excesses, such as driving him to retreat by threatening to tickle him In the case of his father s hatching of a diverse collection of bird eggs and turning his attic into a bizarre aviary the boy initially gives his exuberant support He trips out on the exotic colors and life that the birds bring to their grey lives in fall and winter But soon his father begins compulsively to mimic his charges, such as flapping his virtual wings and croaking at the dinner table before catching himself in embarrassment The apparent slippage of his father toward madness gets a reprieve when Adela manages to let the birds escape Similarly, the son is captivated by his father s forays into weird philosophy, which is described as an attempt at the grafting of mesmerism on the body of modern physics Although their Jewishness is not much on display, I got the impression of the hazards of dwelling on the Kabbala and myths of golem creation in his goal for the second generation of creatures that was to stand in open opposition to the present era our creations will be provisional as it were, constructed for a single use The boy is easily seduced by this riff of his father s The Demiurge, said my father, had no monopoly on creation creation is a privilege of all spirits Matter has infinite fecundity, an inexhaustible vital force, and, at the same time, a seductive power of temptation that entices us to create forms In the depths of matter indistinct smiles take shape, tensions are reinforced, experimental shapes solidify All matter flows from the infinite possibilities passing through it in faint shivers All matter flows awaiting the life giving breath of the spirit, it overflows endlessly within itself, temps with a thousand sweet curves and the softness it hallucinates in its blind imaginings.There is no dead matter lifelessness is only one eternal appearance behind which unknown forms of life are hiding He was fascinated with boundary forms, uncertain and problematic, like the ectoplasm of somnambulists, pseudomatter the cataleptic emanation of the brain that in certain instances grew out of the mouth of a sleeping person into an entire table and filled an entire room, like a lushly expanding tissue, an astral dough on the border between body and soul.Delightful nonsense His father s mental reach in his conception of reviving the Age of Genius begins to look like Schulz dream behind the stories themselves, as eloquently described in the David Grossman piece mentioned above as a period of perfect childhood, feral and filled with light, which even if it lasted for only a brief moment in a person s life would be missed for the rest of his years In Jakub s language Here occurs the phenomenon of representation and vicarious life Some event, perhaps minor and modest with regard to its provenance and its own means, may, when brought close to the eye, reveal in its interior an infinite, radiant perspective thanks to the higher being attempting to express itself and fiercely blazing within it.And so we will gather those allusions, those earthly approximations, those stations and stages on the roads of our life, like the shards of a shattered mirror We will gather piece by piece that which is whole and indivisible, our great age, the age of genius of our life.Even at a toddler age the son suspects his father is keeping from his purview a special book, The Book , which contains the secrets of magnificence beyond reckoning He finds at one point the remnants of a catalog of fashion, huckster schemes, and miraculous medical schemes and treatments which he believes to be fragments of this book This frame of view leads him in his decoding efforts to quite a few odd and touching inferences in the form of life lessons and perspectives on the reality run by adults Things turn darker when his father s horror of cockroaches sends him around the bend We witness a bit of an alternative to Kafka s Metamorphosis, where the conversion once to a cockroach and in another piece into a crab is rendered from the perspective of the neglectful family instead of an interior view Quite a masterpiece of comic horror His father s brilliant madness achieves an apotheosis in the story with the catchy title The Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass The grown up son visits him there where it seems that one version of his father is thriving and cheating death The doctor in change explains The entire trick depends on the fact that we have turned back time Here, your father s death, the death that already reached him in your fatherland, has simply not taken effect.Schulz s most well known story, The Street of Crocodiles, was not a favorite for me It s an extended conception of a large city with a quarter taken over by rampant American style commercialism and corruption It appears rather featureless on maps and contains streets somehow devoid of most color which I didn t get given an expectation of crass advertising Those who wander there at first experience a special freedom, but eventually the unreal logic of the place sinks in with a Twilight Zone gothcha the fatal flaw in this quarter is that nothing in it is ever realized, nothing reaches its definitivum, all movements that are initiated are exhausted prematurely and cannot proceed beyond a certain dead end The Street of Crocodiles was our city s concession to modernity and metropolitan depravity.Over 90% of the collection was outstanding to me, so I urge most readers to give this master a chance to spin your head around The book was provided for review by the publisher through the Netgalley program Self portrait


  4. says:

    Listen And while the children s games became increasingly noisier and complicated, while the city s flushes darkened into purple, the whole world suddenly began to wilt and blacken and exude an uncertain dusk which contaminated everything Treacherous and poisonous, the plague of dusk spread, passed from one object to another, and everything it touched became black and rotten and scattered into dust People fled before it in silent panic, but the disease always caught up with them and spread in a dark rash on their foreheads Their faces disappeared under large, shapeless spots They continued on their way, now featureless, without eyes, shedding as they walked one mask after another, so that the dusk became filled with the discarded larvae dropped in their flight from The Night of the Great Season That s Bruno Schulz s description of nightfall Brilliant Normally I m not one who looks for fancy prose in my fiction, though I am of course capable of appreciating it I m interested in story And in weird fiction, I m interested in that otherworldly frisson I experience when reality and unreality come together for brief moments With Schulz, his prose is just as much a catalyst into his fantastical worlds as the story In his tales, it s not night outside the window, but black night, saturated with dreams and complications A shop s interior can slowly transform into a mountainous landscape Inanimate objects are given human like emotions They can be morose, contemplative, and can even whisper to each other But not like in children s fairy tales, but like the real world seen through the eyes of a child possibly while on LSD The real world, only so More alive Colors are described not in shades, but octaves, which is fitting considering Schulz s writing has a sort of poetic quality to it It can be hard to read at times if you re not in the proper mood, however When I try to read these stories during the day, I can spend several minutes on each page, desperate to not miss a single clever turn of phrase At night, it can put me to sleep if I m not careful But real late at night, when I m past the point of tired and back to wide awake, only punch drunk, then I can become fully enveloped in this world It may still take me several minutes per page, but now it s because I have to periodically sit back in wonder and amazement at the pure genius of certain passages.Reality and fantasy or unleashed imagination are in constant flux here, continuously getting in each other s way But it s not all whimsical Some stories, such as the novelette length Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, have an eerie, almost Ligottian or Kafka esque atmosphere to them Most of the stories deal in some way with Schulz s or the narrator s father He can die in one story, then be fine in the next, only smaller It all may seem rather nonsensical, but once you get into a groove with these tales, it all has a perfect dream logic, in a way.This book or rather two books never gets old with me I can re read these stories countless times and they never lose their magic Too bad Bruno Schulz s life was cut short at such a young age, as these tales may have been just a mere prelude of even greater things to come.But it s hard to imagine.5 Stars This Penguin classics edition contains both his first collection, The Street of Crocodiles, and his followup, Sanitorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, the latter of which has many of Schulz s illustrations interspersed throughout, such as the one up top.


  5. says:

    DNF A family of four lived in a dark, shaded apartment with wallpaper yellowed from the excessive summer heat The dimly lit apartment, above their dressmaking business, was in a state of neglect The father s health deteriorated as he experienced loss of his mental faculties He conversed with himself, was often agitated and sometimes became glazed over like an automaton The metaphors, although excellent, were not enough to help maintain my interest level in continuing to read and fairly assess this tome It would be unfair to rate Collected Stories by Bruno Schulz, a book I did not finish.Thank you Northwestern University Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review Collected Stories.


  6. says:

    4.75This 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 postage stamp album is the entryway into a life of love, war, jealousy, and sacrifice Death exists at the same time it is delayed Mirrors don t merely reflect They hint at the other worlds they contain Old men soar above the ground as if they are in a Chagall painting.The stories do not stop when the characters fall asleep, only to pick up again when they awake Instead, the rooms of the house expand the walls, curtains, and furniture pulsate the minds of the sleepers reach out to one another or across the city, except when they don t In many cases the active sleeping is the eventful climax of a story.Above all, it is the language that delights Within an elegant structure of sentences, the imagery invokes all the senses so plentifully that every yellow horizon, every crack between buildings, every single thing, is alive To quote the old age pensioner It is part of my existence to be the parasite of metaphors, so easily am I carried away by the first simile that comes along Having been carried away, I have to find my difficult way back, and slowly return to my senses Always with full use of his senses, Schulz may at times drop the similes, but never the metaphors.


  7. says:

    Collected Stories by Bruno Schulz is a collection of short stories comprised of two published works and additional uncollected stories Schulz was a Polish Jewish writer, fine artist, literary critic and art teacher He is regarded as one of the great Polish language prose stylists of the 20th century In 1938, he was awarded the Polish Academy of Literature s prestigious Golden Laurel award.There are two things that make this collection great The first is the writing style Schulz is perhaps the only readily known Polish modernist in the West It takes only a short time before the reader is drawn into the minds of the characters The settings gain importance over the concept of plot and are rich in imagery The imagery is not only found in the great things but also in the mundane like fish in aspic The characters get the same treatment What remained of him was a small amount of corporeal casing and thathandful of senseless eccentricities they could disappear one day, as unnoticedas the gray pile of trash collecting in a corner that Adela carried outevery day to the garbage bin.The second thing that makes this collection significant is the translation work by Madeline G Levine Levine is Kenan Professor of Slavic Literatures Emerita at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Her translations from Polish include The Woman from Hamburg and Other True Stories by Hanna Krall, Bread for the Departed by Bogdan Wojdowski, and four volumes of prose by Czes aw Mi osz The introduction documents the checking and rechecking by another party of the translation The goal is to capture the essence and accuracy of the original language The proper use of translation, even if sometimes unwieldy in English or using words that are not in common use, like hill lock hump, adds depth and accuracy to reading and concentrates the reader s effort and attention.Collected Stories offers the reader a look inside of Polish fiction of the modernist period There are many similarities in the writing to Woolf s later poetic prose Stream of consciousness plays out through the stories As many of the stories take place in the past, the effects of memory play an important role in the storytelling much like in Proust Talking to an acquaintance who was born and raised in Poland, Schulz is wonderful and read by most in high school After reading this collection, I would definitely agree with the wonderful.


  8. says:

    This book has been waiting on my shelf for nearly a year, and in retrospect reading two thirds of it in a day was probably a bad idea, as it is dense, allusive and sometimes difficult to follow For all that, it has moments of brilliance that made me understand why Schulz is revered in Poland, not least by Olga Tokarczuk, author of the wonderful Flights.Schulz was a Polish Jew shot by the Nazis in 1941 His hometown Drohobycz has a complicated history and a mixed population in Schulz s lifetime it moved from the Austro Hungarian empire to independent Poland to Russian and then German occupation, since then it has become part of Western Ukraine via the USSR This collection brings together his two published collections of fiction and three other stories Many of the stories concern his alter ego Joseph, who lives with his parents in a rambling apartment in the same building as his father s tailors shop The father is something of a dreamer, and in Schulz s surreal dreamworld undergoes Kafkaesque transformations into insects so it didn t surprise me that Schulz translated Kafka into Polish and several deaths The servant girl Adela plays a part in many of the stories and seems to have influence in the household than the mother The stories are full of symbolism, allusions and surreal dream logic, and I enjoyed the wildest flights of fancy most I suspect that this is a book that would reveal on rereading.


  9. says:

    Just intermittently rereading one of my absolute favorites if you haven t read this collection which includes Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass do yourself a favor and read one of the great books Schulz s sketches are equally great Here is a lovely website dedicated to his art writing if you don t know Schulz s fate, read his wiki biography or whatever, but be prepared for some genuine 20th century tragedy.The first recorded Polish sentence translates to something like Let me grind, and you take a rest prophetic seeing the way the country was epically ground into the earth by the forces of history But when you look at the astounding output of literature and art that survived and still today is finding a growing audience Milosz, Gombrowicz, Wat, Herbert, Stanislaw Lem, Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, Szymborska, Jerzy Pilch, on on , it is just another affirmation of the true heroism of the artist, and the life sustaining nature of creative works.


  10. says:

    Even in this volume s overture, August , an insatiable suction into the hallucinatory blind bright swarming dark fetid verdant depths of summer, even then at the very start the sheer overcrowded prose intensity of this Polish Kafka seemed to be surpassing anything I d encountered from the primary Czech Kafka And then it just goes from there, and goes and goes, through automatons and comets, labyrinths and stork swarms I ve seen this sort of reeling mythic recollection attempted many times, but never so purely, so vividly, so hauntingly This is astounding writing.Some quotes from the first bit, which is basically all one notable quote of dimly perfect fever nostalgia at the hidden cusp of adolescence The dark second floor appartment of the house in Market Square was shot through each day by the naked heat of summer the silence of the shimmering streaks of air, the squares of brightness dreaming their intense dreams on the floor the sound of a barrel organ rising from the deepest golden vein of day two or three bars of a chorus, played on a distant piano over and over again, melting in the sun on the white pavement, lost in the fire of high noon p.3 But on the other side of the fence, behind that jungle of summer in which the stupidity of weeds reigned unchecked, there was a rubbish heap on which thistles grew in wild profusion No one knew that there, on that refuse dump, the month of August had chosen to hold that year its pagan orgies There pushed against the fence and hidden by the elders, stood the bed of the half wit girl, Touya, as we all called her On a heap of discarded junk of old saucepans, abandoned single shoes, and chunks of plaster, stood a bed, painted green, propped up on two bricks where one leg was missing The air over that midden, wild with the heat, cut through by the lightning of shiny horseflies, driven mad by the sun, crackled as if filled with invisible rattles, exciting one to a frenzy p.6 In a straw filled chest lay the foolish Maria, white as a wafer and motionless like a glove from which a hand had been withdrawn And, as if taking advantage of her sleep, the silence talked, the yellow, bright, evil silence delivered its monolgue, argued, and loudly spoke its vulgar maniacal soliloquy Maria s time the time imprisoned in her soul had left her and terribly real filled the room, vociferous and hellish in the bright silence of the morning, rising from the noisy mill of the clock like a cloud of bad flour, powdery flour, the stupid flour of madmen p.7 This is a review of just the stories first published as Street of Crocodiles though I look forward to continuing shortly with his only other published book, also published here, Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass do you ever find yourself trying to describe something in a pale shadow of its own terms I can barely help it Forgive my critical excesses here, they seem to be the irresistible aftereffect of a brush with Schulz s words.