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Bruno Schulz (1) (1892–1942)

Teoksen Krokotiilikuja novelleja tekijä

Katso täsmennyssivulta muut tekijät, joiden nimi on Bruno Schulz.

9+ teosta 2,885 jäsentä 61 arvostelua

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Personal 3 stars only because it's such a strongly visual book and I struggle with appreciating written imagery a lot of the time. The book is very dream-like: most stories are a journey from one extremely detailed surreal image of a scene to another, following a dream logic where the ending bears little relation to the start and there's very limited plot. Some of the scenes were very effective for me and stuck in my mind and the overall evocation of a particular city in a particular time is really powerful and realistic even as it's done through fantasy imagery. It's definitely an experience.

In the last story, The Comet, there was a particularly effective short scene where a relative submits to being turned into... a doorbell(?). I'll leave a little quote which struck me.

Uncle functioned excellently. There was no instance of his refusal to obey. Having discarded his complicated personality, in which at one time he had lost himself, he found at last the purity of a uniform and straightforward guiding principle to which he was subjected from now on. At the cost of his complexity, which he could manage only with difficulty, he had now achieved a simple problem-free immortality. Was he happy? One would ask that question in vain. A question like this makes sense only when applied to creatures who are rich in alternative possibilities, so that the actual truth can be contrasted with partly real probabilities and reflect itself in them. But Uncle Edward had no alternatives; the dichotomy "happy/unhappy" did not exist for him because he had been completely integrated. One had to admit to a grudging approval when one saw how punctually, how accurately he was functioning. Even his wife, Aunt Teresa, who followed him to our city, could not stop herself from pressing the button quite often, in order to hear that loud and sonorous sound in which she recognized the former timbre of her husband's voice in moments of irritation.
… (lisätietoja)
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tombomp | 40 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 31, 2023 |
Bruno Schulz's prose is rich with poetic imagery. His dreamlike surreal pace of this fictional autobiography could be considered an extended prose poem as well as a collection of short stories. Moving at a languid pace with dreamlike logic, it will unexpectedly turn into a frenzy of absurd brilliance, and along the way the author drops hints that all this is not as it seems.

For example, in the story “Cockroaches,” the protagonist confronts his mother about his eccentric deceased father’s remains. It starts with a description of stuffed condor that’s a bit worse for wear. His mother is reclining, suffering from a migraine, nevertheless he confronts her with the frank question: “I’ve been wanting to ask you for a long time: it is he isn’t it?” indicating the stuffed bird.

She accuses him of spreading stories and lies. Then she goes on to remind him of his father’s obsession with cockroaches that drove him into such a state that he became one and then flew apart into a swarm of them and scuttled off into the woodwork. He does remember all this.
“And yet, I say disconcerted, “I am sure that this condor is he.”

My mother looked at me from under her eyelashes.

“Don’t torture me darling; I have told you already that Father is away, traveling all over the country: he now has a job as a commercial traveler. You know that he sometimes come home at night and goes away again before dawn.”

In the following stories, his father, very much alive, is still with them, conducting experiments with electricity that apparently turns his brother-in-law into an electric bell that disintegrates just as the comet that about to destroy the world approaches Earth.
… (lisätietoja)
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MaowangVater | 40 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 31, 2023 |
I had high hopes for this book since it was mentioned in another Boxall's List book. I was very disappointed. While the metaphors are amazing, that is all that this book consists of. It's like reading a chronicle of nightmares. Not for me.
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Kimberlyhi | 40 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 15, 2023 |
Bruno Schulz spent most of his life as a school art teacher in the Galician town of Drohobycz (now Drohobych, Ukraine). He published two collections of Polish short stories in the 1930s, as well as a few uncollected stories, all included in this Penguin Classics collection, together with many of Schulz's own illustrations. His other unpublished manuscripts, said to have included a novel, were all lost during the war, but that small body of published work has been enough to make him an influential writer. Schulz was murdered by a Nazi officer in 1942.

I picked this up rather expecting quaint little stories of small-town life in Mitteleuropa, but it turns out to be something quite different. Schulz was clearly heavily influenced by (at least) Kafka, Thomas Mann, and the surrealists, and his stories, although they usually start out from the bourgeois domesticity of the Schulz family in Drohobycz ca. 1900, invariably branch away from realism into dream worlds in which the narrator's draper father becomes a heroic figure locked in a quixotic struggle against the constraints of sanity (on occasion turning into an arthropod or being sent to a Magic-Mountainish sanatorium), the maidservant Adela turns into every kind of female archetype, the narrator seems to switch constantly between adult, adolescent and small child (in one story he is an old-age pensioner who enrols in primary school), and the town itself shifts shape in all sorts of unpredictable ways.

This all comes with inventive (over-)rich visual descriptions, often seeming to borrow techniques from the cinema of the times, and all kinds of dreamlike category-changes, when seasons or places or trains develop personalities, waxwork figures and tailor's dummies come to life, and members of the Hapsburg family turn up uninvited.

Very strange and fascinating, definitely something I'm going to have to re-read soon.

But, once again, this makes me sad about what has happened to Penguin Classics. They still have the smart black cover designs I remember from forty years ago, but the insides have turned into a mush of smudgy ink crookedly printed on translucent paper that is creased before you even get the book home from the shop. What are they thinking?
… (lisätietoja)
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thorold | 7 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 10, 2022 |



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