On the heels of a roughly five-word introduction, I discovered a world where beauty’s allure is tempered by toxic, frightening, savage, bizarre, and sometimes so-funny-you-laugh-when-you-definitely-shouldn’t atmosphere. This is a reality where the mundane is made gloriously beautiful and everything not beautiful smolders with anxiety-inducing power.

This is The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz, an author distinguished for having been shot by a Nazi officer–one imagines Schulz was doing something right. His descriptive language is lush, with glowing amber sunlight and “bright shining worlds, like the ideally happy pictures contained in the peerless perfection of soap bubbles,” yet his European sensibilities manifest as a Kafka-esque sense of futility that germinates in a Byzantine maze of identical apartments with fading wallpaper tenanted by emasculated husbands.

I look forward to experiencing this story in all its strangeness and wonder. I’ll continue putting my observations here as I read.