‘The Gale’ by Bruno Schulz, translated by Celina Wieniewska

Schulz’s prose is alive. There’s a winter storm at the heart of this story, and in the attics, the narrator tells us, darkness degenerates and ferments wildly. The young man and his family take shelter in their home as the wind builds labyrinthine spirals outside:

From that maze it shot out along galleries of rooms, raced amid claps of thunder through long corridors and then allowed all those imaginary structures to collapse, spreading out and rising into the formless atmosphere.

The storm rages outside and in the sanctuary of the kitchen, the maid pounds cinnamon in a mortar, a furious aunt shrinks until she disintegrates and his mother’s everyday conversation carries on.

(First published in Sklepy Cynamonowe, 1934, translated as The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories, Walker,1963, and subsequently by Penguin, 1977/Penguin Classics, 2008)