Benjamin Moser

Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle award. At New Directions, he edits the new translation of Clarice Lispector’s work, of which The Besieged City is the eighth volume. For promoting her work around the world, the Brazilian government awarded him the first State Prize in Cultural Diplomacy. A former books columnist at Harper’s Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, his latest book, Sontag: Her Life and Work, is published by Ecco Press.

The Besieged City

Fiction by Clarice Lispector

Translated by Johnny Lorenz

Edited by Benjamin Moser

Seven decades after its original publication, Clarice Lispector’s third novel—the story of a girl and the city her gaze reveals—is in English at last. Lucrécia Neves is ready to marry. Her suitors—soldierly Felipe, pensive Perseu, dependable Mateus—are attracted to her tawdry not-quite-beauty, which is of a piece with São Geraldo, the rough-and-ready township she inhabits. Civilization is on its way to this place, where wild horses still roam. As Lucrécia is tamed by marriage, São Geraldo gradually expels its horses; and as the town strives for the highest attainment it can conceive—a viaduct—it takes on the progressively more metropolitan manners that Lucrécia, with her vulgar ambitions, desires too.…
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Near to the Wild Heart

Fiction by Clarice Lispector

Translated by Alison Entrekin

Edited by Benjamin Moser

Near to the Wild Heart, published in Rio de Janeiro in 1943, introduced Brazil to what one writer called “Hurricane Clarice”: a twenty-three-year-old girl who wrote her first book in a tiny rented room and then baptized it with a title taken from Joyce: “He was alone, unheeded, near to the wild heart of life.” The book was an unprecedented sensation — the discovery of genius. Narrative epiphanies and interior monologue frame the life of Joana, from her middle-class childhood through her unhappy marriage and its dissolution to transcendence, when she proclaims: “I shall arise as strong and comely as a young colt.…
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A Breath of Life

Fiction by Clarice Lispector

Translated by Johnny Lorenz

Edited by Benjamin Moser

A mystical dialogue between a male author (a thinly disguised Clarice Lispector) and his/her creation, a woman named Angela, this posthumous work has never before been translated. Lispector did not even live to see it published. At her death, a mountain of fragments remained to be “structured” by a friend, Olga Borelli. These fragments form a dialogue between a god-like author who infuses the breath of life into his creation: the speaking, breathing, dying creation herself, Angela Pralini.…
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Água Viva

Fiction by Clarice Lispector

Translated by Stefan Tobler

Edited by Benjamin Moser

A meditation on the nature of life and time, Água Viva (1973) shows Lispector discovering a new means of writing about herself, more deeply transforming her individual experience into a universal poetry. In a body of work as emotionally powerful, formally innovative, and philosophically profound as Clarice Lispector’s, Água Viva stands out as a particular triumph.
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The Passion According to G.H.

Fiction by Clarice Lispector

Translated by Idra Novey

Edited by Benjamin Moser

The Passion According to G.H., Clarice Lispector’s mystical novel of 1964, concerns a well-to-do Rio sculptress, G.H., who enters her maid’s room, sees a cockroach crawling out of the wardrobe, and, panicking, slams the door — crushing the cockroach — and then watches it die. At the end of the novel, at the height of a spiritual crisis, comes the most famous and most genuinely shocking scene in brazilian literature…
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The Chandelier

The Chandelier, written when Lispector was only twenty-three, reveals a very different author from the college student whose debut novel, Near to the Wild Heart, announced the landfall of “Hurricane Clarice.” Virgínia and her cruel, beautiful brother, Daniel, grow up in a decaying country mansion. They leave for the city, but the change of locale leaves Virgínia’s internal life unperturbed. In intensely poetic language, Lispector conducts a stratigraphic excavation of Virgínia’s thoughts, revealing the drama of Clarice’s lifelong quest to discover “the nucleus made of a single instant”—and displaying a new face of this great writer, blazing with the vitality of youth.…
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The Hour of the Star

Fiction by Clarice Lispector

Translated from the Portuguese by Benjamin Moser

With a contribution by Colm Tóibín

The Hour of the Star, Clarice Lispector’s consummate final novel, may well be her masterpiece. Narrated by the cosmopolitan Rodrigo S.M., this brief, strange, and haunting tale is the story of Macabéa, one of life’s unfortunates. Living in the slums of Rio and eking out a poor living as a typist, Macabéa loves movies, Coca-Cola, and her rat of a boyfriend; she would like to be like Marilyn Monroe, but she is ugly, underfed, sickly, and unloved.…
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The Complete Stories

Fiction by Clarice Lispector

Translated by Katrina Dodson

With a contribution by Benjamin Moser

Here, gathered in one volume, are the stories that made Clarice a Brazilian legend. Originally a cloth edition of eighty-six stories, now we have eighty-nine in all, covering her whole amazing career, from her teenage years to her deathbed. In these pages, we meet teenagers becoming aware of their sexual and artistic powers, humdrum housewives whose lives are shattered by unexpected epiphanies, old people who don’t know what to do with themselves— and in their stories, Clarice takes us through their lives—and hers—and ours.…
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