Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in western Ukraine. As a result of the anti-Semitic violence they endured, the family fled to Brazil in 1922, and Clarice Lispector grew up in Recife. Following the death of her mother when Clarice was nine, she moved to Rio de Janeiro with her father and two sisters, and she went on to study law. With her husband, who worked for the foreign service, she lived in Italy, Switzerland, England, and the United States, until they separated and she returned to Rio in 1959; she died there in 1977. Since her death, Clarice Lispector has earned universal recognition as Brazil’s greatest modern writer.

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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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 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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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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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 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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Selected Cronicas

The chronicle, a literary genre peculiar to the Brazilian press, allows poets and novelists to address a wide readership on any theme they like. Lispector’s Saturday column from 1967 to 1973 in Rio’s leading newspaper, the Jornal do Brasil, was even by Brazilian standards extraordinarily free-ranging and intimate—astonishingly so to readers of US newspapers. The 156 crônicas collected here (variously taking the form of serialized stories, essays, aphorisms, conversations with taxi drivers, random thoughts, introspective revelations, memories) are endlessly delightful.…
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The Foreign Legion

The Foreign Legion is a collection in two parts, gathering both stories and chronicles, and it offers wonderful evidence of Clarice Lispector’s unique sensibility and range as an exponent of experimental prose. The Foreign Legion opens with thirteen stories. Delightful, vivid, sometimes mordantly funny, sometimes sad beyond words, the tales bear out The New York Times comment that “Lispector makes language the medium of both imprisonment and liberation… and she does it with an amazingly light and playful touch.…
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Soulstorm

The twenty-nine stories in Clarice Lispector’s Soulstorm were originally published in two separate volumes in 1974––The Stations of the Body and Where You Were at Night––and are now combined for the first time and sensitively translated into English by Alexis Levitin. The realm of Lispector’s fiction is the inner life; self-knowledge is her main concern. Like James Joyce’s Dubliners, her characters live small stifled lives, often unaware of their own suffering, but her lucid and richly textured narratives allow us, the readers, the epiphanies that they themselves are denied.…
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Água Viva

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 revival of the hypnotic Clarice Lispector has been one of the true literary events of the 21st century.
—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
I’m really obsessed by this writer from Brazil, Clarice Lispector. I love her because she writes whole novels where not one thing happens—she describes the air. I think she’s such a great, great novelist.
—John Waters
Lispector’s prose lilts and sways, its rhythm shakes at once with closeness and distance. The sensory power Lispector is able to draw from her sentences is here given free rein and the descriptive character of the text is wild with excess, seeking to imbue everything simultaneously with solidity, material presence, and transience, fluidity.
Music & Literature
Lispector’s signature narrative style, which borders on stream-of-consciousness, is the vehicle for Virginia’s existential dilemmas and her observations about a world from which she often seems removed. The Chandelier includes all the earmarks of Lispector’s other work, too: a deep anguish, a search for the heart of human existence, and the unbearable weight of a solitude that is imperative to ultimate freedom.
Americas Quarterly
A breathless, dizzying and multi­sensory dive into the mind.
The Times Literary Supplement
Reading Lispector is deceptively easy because of the pleasurable momentum, range, and freshness of her storylines.
Women’s Review of Books
Confident and unexpected.
—Max Nelson, Boston Review
These stories eschew traditional notions of plot, relying instead on eccentric shifts and juxtapositions that force the reader to approach the narratives obliquely, at an unfamiliar angle.
—Stephen Beattie, The Globe and Mail
No matter how small or large the subject — a girl’s love of her pet chicken who subsequently gets eaten, a first kiss between classmates, or a discontent housewife’s daydreams — they become magnified in her hands.
—Fiona Wilson, The Times UK
Mystic intelligence and charm, perfectly unhinged sensibility.
—James Yeh, VICE
You could call Lispector’s stories telegraphs from the flames of hell, but that would discount how innocent and funny they could be. Manna from the shtetl? Prayers at the high-rise window before the tranquilizers kick in? You will not be disappointed if you read The Complete Stories. It might even become your bible.
—Benjamin Anastas, The New Republic
Her early work already reads like the mature productions of most writers. Each story demands such attention. Lispector never repeats a subject or an approach except to push it further. Moser, in his introduction, calls her a ‘female Chekhov’, but Lispector is no one so much as the fullest version of herself.
—Joanna Walsh, The National
For readers who worship at the altar of Lispector, the appearance of new work in translation is an event…Calling the release of Lispector’s Complete Stories in English an ‘epiphany’ in its promotional copy may sound like hyperbole. It’s not.
The Millions
Startlingly innovative.
—Elissa Shappel, Vanity Fair
To fans, Lispector is simply ‘Clarice,’ like Cher or Madonna or her countryman, Pele.
—Brenda Cronin, The Wall Street Journal
She has been variously likened to such modernist writers as Nabokov, Borges and Calvino, and the strange and mesmerizing stories here confirm her stature.
Newsday
A genius on the level of Nabokov.
—Jeff VanderMeer, Slate Book Review
The elusive genius who dramatized a fractured interior world in rich, synesthetic prose.
—Megan O’Grady, Vogue
Lispector reads with lively intelligence and is terrifically funny. Language, for her, was the self’s light.
—Lorrie Moore
Clarice Lispector had a diamond-hard intelligence, a visionary instinct, and a sense of humor that veered from naïf wonder to wicked comedy.
—Rachel Kushner
I felt physically jolted by genius.
—Katherine Boo
[Lispector] left behind an astounding body of work that has no real corollary inside literature or outside it.
—Rachel Kushner, Bookforum
We now finally have a translation worthy of Clarice Lispector’s inimitable style. Go out and buy it.
The Guardian
One of 20th-century Brazil’s most intriguing and mystifying writers.
The L Magazine
Her images dazzle even when her meaning is most obscure, and when she is writing of what she despises she is lucidity itself.
The Times Literary Supplement
Writing like this could only be the product of a sublime creative purge, an incomprehensible, compulsive flowing-out response to the raw intake of being human and everything that that is and means.
The Brooklyn Rail
Lispector’s prose is unforgettable… still startling by the end because of Lispector’s unsettling forcefulness.
The Boston Globe
Lispector’s novels offer a stark counterpoint to much of modern life’s focus on individual fame.
The Boston Globe
It is jarring and yet restorative to read a writer whose focus is so private, internal.
The Boston Globe
Both dazzling and difficult.
San Francisco Chronicle
Lispector is an author that requires the reader’s full participation, but the rewards are sizable.
—Scott Esposito, Barnes & Noble Review
It is Lispector’s attempt — successful, I would say — to sacralize one of the vilest quantities in the Western world.
—Scott Esposito, Barnes & Noble Review
That Lispector could write such a complete and satisfying coming-of-age story at twenty-three is proof — were any needed — that she was always ahead of the game.
—Scott Esposito, Barnes & Noble Review
This is a book that, like a good painting, can be picked up anywhere and that will continue to reward renewed contact over months and years of acquaintance.
—Scott Esposito, Barnes & Noble Review
The New Directions Lispector translation project is an incredibly important contribution to the canon of world literature.
The Coffin Factory
This text investigates the knowledge of not knowing and the rich poverty of the inner void with stratagems of obfuscation, leaps of language, and suspensions of syntax and form that are perhaps best received by the gut.
—Catherine Foulkrod, The Faster Times
Lispector’s brilliant intellect spins inquiry and philosophy on par with the best writers of the 20th century.
—Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
Even to a reader first encountering her work, there’s a feeling of encountering something completely new and classic at the same time.
Time Out Chicago
It is the primal, illogical experience beyond thought that Lispector and her protagonists crave.
ZYZZYVA
One of the most audacious and affecting works of fiction I’ve ever read.
—Ben Fountain, Barnes & Noble Review
Brilliant and unclassifiable…Glamorous, cultured, moody, Lispector is an emblematic twentieth-century artist who belongs in the same pantheon as Kafka and Joyce.
—Edmund White
Over time, I’ve come to admire and even love this novel. In fact, as soon as I slammed the book shut, my understanding of G.H.’s story began to take on an almost-corporeal reality.
—Emma Komlos-Hrobsky, Tin House
A new translation of The Hour of the Star by Lispector’s biographer Benjamin Moser reveals the mesmerizing force of the revitalized modernist’s Rio-set tale of a young naïf, who, along with the piquantly intrusive narrator, challenges the reader’s notions of identity, storytelling, and love.
—Megan O’Grady, Vogue.com
The only antidote to stupidity is an agitated intelligence constantly prowling for blank spots in one’s outward seeming. The Hour of the Star is a romance, then, between stupidity and its neurotic observer, a restless stretching away from form, tradition, and the stupefying rules they impose on writing.
The New Inquiry
A truly remarkable writer.
—Jonathan Franzen
…filled with jagged, jerky odd, and utterly compelling prose, which is how it should be according to Moser.
—Craig Morgan Teicher, Publishers Weekly
Clarice Lispector is the premier Latin American woman prose writer of the century.
New York Times Book Review
Lispector’s intensity makes her a natural short story writer…
Times Literary Supplement
One might have thought that so stern a ‘new novelist’ would scorn the chatty style required. Far from it: Lispector discovered her own extraordinary idiom–intimate, revelatory, mystificatory. This flirtation with her readers was a triumphant metamorphosis for the avant-garde author.
Times Literary Supplement
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