The Elephant (1957) is Slawomir Mrozek's award-winning collection of hilarious and unnerving short stories, satirising life in Poland under a totalitarian regime. The family of a wealthy lawyer keep a 'tamed progressive' as a pet; a zoo saves money for the workers by fashioning their elephant from rubber; a swan is dismissed from the municipal park for public drunkenness; and under the Writers' Association, literary critics are banished to the salt mines. In these tales of bureaucrats, officials and artists, Mrozek conjures perfectly a life of imagined crimes and absurd authority.
Slawomir Mrozek (born in 1930) is now principally known as Poland's master of Absurd Theatre, in plays such as
Repeat Performance and
Vatzlav. He began his career though with the timeless story collection
The Elephant with its extraordinary illustrations by Daniel Mroz.