THE TALKING CROCODILE by Fyodor Dostoevsky


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A mildly amusing conceil which, like crocodile soup, is a matter of taste; one thing is certain it's not as young as it looks. Involving a specific remote time (1865) and place (St. Petersburg), and designated nationals (a German in addition to the Russians), much of this will indeed be foreign to little children. The author-narrator (who asides to the audience) and his two friends go to the ""Arcade"" to see a crocodile, and friend Ivan, looking too close, is swallowed whole. (""Supposing it happened to you, yourself? It surely would be most unpleasant, wouldn't it?"") Ivan's wife begs the keeper to ""excavate in Karl,"" the crocodile, but he refuses for fear of injuring the animal. Meanwhile Ivan makes himself comfortable, receives visits and attends teas inside Karl, until the Isar's dentist extracts him. The drawings are very clever if not always intelligible; the story is sardonie and coy in turn, and intelligible only to the initiated.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1968
Publisher: Atheneum