Please don’t feed the . . .


Female barbers attached to a pair of scissors that won’t stop, women who can’t conceal hard-earned wads of hundred dollar bills sticking up under their polka dot bikini bottoms, adulteresses who bludgeon their husbands to bloody deaths, Dostoyevskian prostitute virgins, compulsive seductresses who delight in torturing tall wimpy men, all shown in a blinding bright light on an absurdist stage. Are crocodiles capable of smiling if they can’t cry?

A dazzling new collection of absurdist “short shrift fictions” by Yuriy Tarnawsky, author of THE PLACEBO EFFECT TRILOGY.


“In case you have missed the voice of the rich, courageous, adventurous fiction writing of Yuriy Tarnawsky, this collection will be a great introduction. You will experience his unique ability to meld wicked humor and looming gravitas.One of the great under-recognized talents in the fiction of the 20th – 21st century.” —Steve Katz

“If Frankenstein had had the wit of Groucho Marx and the subtle plasticity of Magritte he might have written these magical and dangerous stories instead of Yuriy Tarnawsky.The master of short tails has struck again! Frightening, funny and baffling as ever!” —Alain Arias-Misson

“Yuriy Tarnawsky’s fictional world is one in which every object and every action is meaningful. Haircuts have meaning. Two refrigerators are alive with ominous activity. Kafka meets Sartre (implying hell is… other bugs!).  Sweet porridge can ‘assuage the victim’s suffering.’ The stories are perfectly envisioned, as if Tarnawsky had just landed on this earth with his sense of wonder still intact, looking at everything and trying to understand. Reading these stories is like learning to see all over again!” —Eckhard Gerdes

Order the trade paperback edition now.





Yuriy Tarnawsky has authored some three dozen books of fiction, poetry, drama, essays, and translations in Ukrainian and English, most recently The Placebo Effect Trilogy—three volumes of interrelated mininovels—and Modus Tollens—a volume of Heuristic poetry. His affinity for animals is well exemplified not only in Crocodile Smiles but also in such books as the collection of stories Short Tails, in the second volume of the Trilogy, The Future of Giraffes, and most vividly in his best-known novel Three Blondes and Death. He was born in Ukraine but was raised and educated in the West. An engineer and linguist by training, he has worked as a computer scientist specializing in Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing as well as professor of Ukrainian Literature and Culture. He lives with his wife Karina in the New York City metropolitan area.


Author photo: Oleh Holovackiy