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The Hour of the Star
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The Hour of the Star

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  5,803 ratings  ·  405 reviews
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-Colas, and her rat of a boyfriend; she would like to be like Marilyn Monroe, but she is ugly, underfed, sickly and unloved. Rodrigo recoils from ...more
ebook, 128 pages
Published October 24th 2011 by New Directions (first published January 1st 1975)
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Ben Winch
Lately I find myself in the frustrating position (not uncommon among booksellers) of being surrounded by far more books than I can read. Not only are there books in the shop, but in my spare moments at work I browse Goodreads, Abebooks and my local library system, and so have a constant stream of books passing through my hands, many of which I can do no more than glance at before returning them or putting them away for later. Into this deluge has flowed this novella by Clarice Lispector, a book ...more
Mike Puma

I’ve been putting off any attempt at writing on this one because: A) it’s rather a challenge without spoilers (although, depending on how one reads the title, the very idea of spoiler is rather silly) and B) this is one I would expect casual readers to dislike…intensely. Which leads me to:

You have confused the true and the real.
A line that Elizabeth Hand, in Fantasy & Science Fiction calls Dhalgren’s “minatory epigraph.” I’m not a reader of F&SF or Ms Hand, but, dammit, they both dese
A deceptively short novella with a minimal story which has an underlying philosophical intensity that belies the simple plot. It is the story of Macabea narrated by the rather mysterious Rodrigo SM; he plays a slightly ambiguous role in the story; his asides are amusing and he appears sympathetic. However I suspect he is a rather unreliable and deliberately male narrator.
Macabea has moved to Rio from Northern Brazil and is now alone in the world; strictly brought up by her aunt she is portrayed

It was a grave mistake to commit to a binge of 200 or less page works, especially after so long a stint of the eighth longest novel in existence, third longest in English (looking at you, Women and Men) because I had forgotten how utterly manic tiny works can leave me. Can, because this is not a common complaint, as the last time this happened was with poor Zweig's Chess Story that left me bawling in my brain and stone cold in my expression. You should try it some time. I don't really mean

Someone is walking on my grave.

Lispector is MJ Nicholl’s doppelganger. I’m sure he hasn’t heard of her, which makes the similarities of exactness between aPostmodern Belch and The Hour eerie. Not only do we have the narrator fooling around with three characters (Macabea, Gloria and Olympico) who are clearly facets of herself, but on page 57 we even have ‘quiddidity’ apropos Macabaea: need I say more?

Its no secret Macabea is a ‘loser’, an anti-heroine, an anonymous nonentity, wretched, ugly, sic
Sempre tive um pé atrás em relação à Clarice por conta de uma entrevista a que assisti. O que me incomodava é que ela não se deixava ir muito a fundo. Por mais objetiva que fosse a pergunta do jornalista, ela não se despia daquela aura enigmática, respondendo sempre de maneira oblíqua. O medo era encontrar nos livros muitas frases de efeito e pouco conteúdo. Pura besteira!

A hora da estrela é de uma sensibilidade rara. O narrador estabelece uma relação complexa com a personagem, repleta de ódio,
Lispector is one of those novelist who can write about writing, and do so before you even understand what you're reading. In this novel, she personifies the conceptual "spark of inspiration" into a strange, endearing woman, then proceeds to describe her obsessively from the point of a male author/narrator. What unfolds is that rare balance of metaphoric manifesto on writing and an engrossing narrative. Her writing is stunning, almost surreal, and this little novella has more to teach about writi ...more
PGR Nair

My first exposure to the prose of the famed Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector was Selected Cronicas. I loved the book , a potpourri of many things: autobiographical experiences, short short stories, anecdotes, interviews (such as the one with Neruda), fantasies, encounters in taxi and intimate home scenes. Selected Cronicas like this one was brilliantly translated by Giovanni Pontiero. The enthusiasm spurred by the reading of it led me to order three more including this one (the other titles be
M. Sarki
So Mr. Moser does the Lispector biography which I plan on reading soon as it arrives in my waiting hands, but then I read this bit here that Moser himself translated and he is making his comments of gushing praise for it saying that the book was the very first exposure he had to Lispector's genius and I am at the very same time finding myself getting a little bit sick to my stomach with all this loving on her, though I do realize she was beautiful in a Marlene Dietrich sort of way, and I also kn ...more
Chad Post
It goes without saying that this is an incredible, incredible novella. Narrated by the self-involved Rodrigo S.M., he tells the story of Macabea, a pathetic, ugly, sad, unfortunate, unloved woman from the northeast part of Brazil who moves to Rio. Rodrigo's descriptions--and various asides--are by turns cutting and quite funny, and occasionally display his peculiar love for the character of Macabea. On all levels, this is an unforgettable book--one worth reading over and again.

In terms of the ne
Nate D
So very strange: A Brazillian feminist luminary writing through a somewhat pompous, depressive middle-aged male narrator, himself penning (obsessing over) the merciless story of an sickly, impoverished typist who faces her station and inevitable fate with an odd acceptance somewhere between grace and lack of imagination. So much is going on in its mere 90 pages that I'm going to have to dive back in tomorrow when I'm more awake to let it sink in a bit more fully.


And one subway ride later:
On s
I know that women are not intrinsically weak, that they are not more vulnerable than men; I know that unhappiness is not gender specific, that both sexes can suffer equally, and yet something deep in my psyche tells me that a woman’s sadness, her pain, is worse than a man’s, that it is less acceptable or tolerable. Philip Larkin once wrote that ‘they fuck you up, your mum and dad, they may not mean to but they do,’ and I don’t know if I would go that far, but if I had to trace these feelings bac ...more
É uma das frutas que mais gosto. No entanto, esse gosto não surgiu naturalmente mas por aprendizagem. Queria perceber porque havia pessoas que se deliciavam com uma fruta viscosa; por vezes tão acre que me deixava a língua "entabuada"; com uma pele muito fininha e impossível de descascar e que me obrigava a fazer a maior javardice para o conseguir comer. Insisti, insisti, insisti. Agora sou louca pelo seu sabor doce e pela sua textura suave. São frutos muito sensíveis que, para serem apr
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.875* of five

This is billed as Lispector, a Brazilian pyrotechnician of words, writing her last novel. It's about 80pp long, so I am hard pressed to see how it's anything but a novella as defined by length. Its content, the descent and fall of one of life's losers, places it firmly in novella territory as well. Its beauty and grace of language mark it as a poetic novella. But it's not a complex, nuanced, developed story, so not what I'm willing to call a novel.

But it's brilliant, and it
I had never heard of Clarice Lispector until I saw it on Les Plesko's reading list (see my Goodreads blog on this mindblowing list), which I am gradually moving through. I decided to start with this one, an extremely short book, readable in a sitting, which was actually her last book. Self-doubting in the way only a very confident writer can be, a writer questioning the entire project--full of ideas and insights and the exploration of this thing we do, creating literature. Ostensibly about a pit ...more
In telling the story of a 'meagre' character, an orphan from the poorest region of Brazil living in poverty in Rio, Lispector offers no philosophical certainty, proceeding from one diffuse reflection to another, usually conflicting one, while retaining a vice-like grip on the minimal narrative.

The dialogue is particularly masterful - somehow razor sharp despite the characters' limited capacities for insight. Macabea's exchanges with her boyfriend and with the doctor expose social ills both petty
Clarice Lispector's name has been on my radar for awhile. I heard she was beloved by Borges, Cortazar and Bolano. I also heard she was insanely influential among the Latin American writers who were part of the "cool-set." So I finally decided to pick up one of her books - a small one, which happily is supposed to be one of her best.

The book is written in a clean, sparse, and beautiful style, but the story is anything but simple. The narrative flip flops from the author's ruminations on writing,
Quedé fascinada con esta autora desde La bella y la bestia. Y si los cuentos de ese libro, cuya publicación fue póstuma, me introdujeron al extraño mundo de Clarice Lispector, La hora de la estrella terminó de convencerme y ahora quiero quedarme a vivir allí. Parece un mundo ordinario, en donde vemos vivencias ordinarias de gente ordinaria, pero hay algo que no lo es: la forma de contarlo. Lispector toma un hecho y lo trata de adentro hacia afuera, de modo que uno se cruza con pensamientos a ...more
Tanuj Solanki
One does not understand the sanctity of the title, though the novel is near-excellent.

While pure being allows for self-consciousness, it may be so simplistic that it leads to near anonymity. Is it commendable to be like that in our world? - this seems to be one of the questions.

The writer is writing as the reader is reading. Lispector's interventions are very well done / managed. For formal rigour and philosophical inquiry, the novel could stand with the very best.

Rosa Ramôa
Somos completamente miseráveis,é claro!!!

“Ela acreditava em anjo e, porque acreditava, eles existiam"
not having read the giovanni pontiero (saramago's longtime english translator) translation of the hour of the star, i am unable to compare the original translation with benjamin moser's new one, yet his afterword in this newly retranslated edition seems to make clear that lispector's seemingly unconventional use of punctuation and grammar was entirely intentional. much has been made about the difficult task a translator confronts when rendering a book from its native language, and perhaps nowher ...more
Aug 12, 2007 Michael rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rich people trying to understand poor people
This book features perhaps the most annoying narrators in the history of literature, and it's not the good annoying like Holden Caulfield. This narrator repeats himself over and over even contradicting himself and needlessly commenting about how he writes about a girl that just makes her message so much less pronounced. the narrative itself is like a half hour episode of a miniseries with very littler of anything, the characters are all unnappealing and without any charisma whatsoever, which cou ...more
The best novella I have read all year.

The first forty pages were amazing—constant asides from the narrator talking about the story, storytelling, the main character. Lots of good stuff, so much so I had to stop to take notes. The further along I got, the less the text compelled me to note-take.

There are many worse ways to spend an afternoon, but few better ones. Highly recommended, if you appreciate the way in which a story is told, and what it means to tell.

note that goodreads entry for this
I read Colm Tóibín's preface to this a day or two before I actually got around to sitting down with it properly, and then I finished it on a single hour and a half plane trip. I'm glad I did it that way around, and that I had the gap. This book is a bit like good wine to me, in that if you leave me to my own devices I've no idea what I'm looking at and I'm a bit underwhelmed, but give me a bit of context and tell me what to look for and it really just pops.

In this case, this book was made substa
An animal of a human that lives among humans does not reflect as humans do, does not know that she is happy or unhappy, stubbornly she goes on. An animal of a human and the one-way relationship of the God who created her, the God who is capable of self-reflection and the God who, by creating, questions God.

"I think about Macabea's vagina, minute, yet unexpectedly covered with a thick growth of black hairs-her vagina was the only vehement sign of her existence."

I thought of Anais Nin as I read this because the avant garde style and themes (relationships) are very similar, except Lispector is less perfumed and has somewhat more intense clarity to her writing than Nin.

I was drawn along a relentless thread through this novella as Lispector as purveyor of all this took her protagonist, Macabea, through a cruel depiction - Macabea is poor, ugly, simple, almost a non-thinking being - and sadistic treatment - Macabea's boyfriend leaves her for a colleague, M
Neal Adolph
I think I will read this book again. It is a short and wonderful story about a woman who becomes, throughout the story, the Maria of the world. By this I mean she is the mother of our experiences - the one who has given us our intelligences and stupidity, our beauty and our ugliness (this sentence suggests a parallel that isn't there). It is about her life and her death and most importantly it is about her death. And this is what I like about this story - as the mother of all our experiences, it ...more
"Tudo no mundo começou com um sim."

Esta obra, antes de mais, não é para quem vive de máscaras. Certamente que todos usamos uma ou outra em momentos pontuais (viver em sociedade não dá azo a que as pessoas possam ser 100% genuínas), mas esta Hora da Estrela relembra-nos de quem somos por detrás de tudo isso.
Para mim, esta obra retrata uma espécie de 'Inception' no que toca ao processo de criação literária.
O narrador é um autor que precisa desesperadamente de colocar uma personagem em papel, a no
a beautiful portrait -- but of whom? is it the poor girl who is its purported subject (and whose inner life is cosmic enough to arrest time)? or is it the novelist who observes divinity in the marketplace (and in the red light district) and renders frail, pure being in reflective aphorisms that are so woven together to make a gleaming, seamless mirror? yes and yes. very great stuff.

"Perhaps I could enhance this story if I were to introduce some difficult technical terms? But that is the problem:
Jonathan Dickstein
"Everything begins with a yes" opens this unique take on an otherwise already written concept - that is, a novel about a writer writing observing another character. Honestly, up until the last several pages, this piece is extremely captivating, especially in terms of the varying perspectives and what ideas stand behind them. I think there is something to be said about writers who write about writing. The stream of conciousness prose really works, keeps the reader interested, despite the almost u ...more
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500 Great Books B...: The Hour of the Star - Clarice Lispector 15 36 Jul 31, 2015 11:14PM  
  • Sagarana
  • A Obscena Senhora D
  • How I Became a Nun
  • O Alienista
  • Macunaíma
  • São Bernardo
  • Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector
  • A Rosa do Povo
  • As Meninas
  • Morte e Vida Severina
  • Senselessness
Clarice Lispector was a Brazilian writer. Acclaimed internationally for her innovative novels and short stories, she was also a journalist. Born to a Jewish family in Podolia in Western Ukraine, she was brought to Brazil as an infant, amidst the disasters engulfing her native land following the First World War.

She grew up in northeastern Brazil, where her mother died when she was nine. The family
More about Clarice Lispector...

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“Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?” 261 likes
“Everything in the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born.” 73 likes
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