Tuesday, June 3, 2008


So, I've been slowly wading into my year-long reading period for the exams I am taking next April. Thus far I've been focusing on modernist novels to come out of the countries that formerly comprised Austro-Hungary -- Kafka, Sandor Marai, Joseph Roth, Jaroslav Hasek, Karel Capek, etc. Today I finished a book that I though was really exceptional, Bruno Schulz's The Street of Crocodiles. Part Borges, part magical realism, this book is absolutely luminous. It's one of those rare books that makes you see the world anew. Schulz very deliberately sets out to defamiliarize the everyday, and is successful to a degree far surpassing the expectations. I feel that now having read it, I would almost be justified in doing nothing else for the rest of the year but re-reading this one work.

And one more thing: if it makes a difference, Schulz's life is fascinating, not least of all because he was shot in the head by a Gestapo officer in 1942.

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