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Água Viva

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  824 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Água viva, é um longo texto ficcional em forma de monólogo, que foi publicado pela primeira vez em 1973, poucos anos antes da morte da autora, Clarice Lispector. Neste livro, Clarice leva a extremos a insurreição formal e a desestruturação da forma romancesca, criando um gênero híbrico, marcado pela fluidez, pela aparência inacabada e inconclusa, produto da liberdade.
87 pages
Published 1998 by Rocco (first published 1973)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,795)
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Ben Winch
Sorry Clarice, no dice. I wanted to like it, and I'm not opposed to structureless rhapsody per se, but Leaves of Grass (or even its introverted modernist reflection) this ain't. At first, it's true, the fact that it didn't actually annoy me - when it so easily could have - was a selling point. And I appreciated the suggestion that it should be read quickly, from afar, without too intense a focus. For a while, it kind of worked. Maybe a rereading will help. Maybe its having inspired zero exciteme ...more
Jack Waters
This is a book that I will return to at least once a year. The prose reminds me of Saul Williams’ poetry, although Saul was born a mere five years before Lispector died in 1977, so any thoughts of reincarnation do not hold in this particular instance.

A bricolage of paragraphs longing for understanding on the present moment are placed like Tibetan prayer flags in the work -- there seems to be a thread or current running throughout the pieces. Of course Água Viva means The Stream of Life, so she s
Totally thin and plotless and long and tedious and it is the hardest Clarice Lispector book I've read so far but I still l-o-v-e it, especially when she gives me such warm closure at the end. How does she do it—take me to places where I don't want to go, opening me up, leaving me with so much for wonder. "Something like the memory of a tall monument that seems taller because it is a memory." Yes. I wouldn't carelessly share this book with friends or anything. I'm going to read all her work avail ...more
Before you read this review: go find a version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and put it on. (I'm sure you have it someplace. John Cale's version is recommended, but just about anyone will do.)

Back? Good. And I guess now I'll have to explain what Cohen has to do with Lispector - I suppose it's possible that Cohen's read the book, but it's not like they're all that closely related (apart from the fact that the book opens with a cry of "hallelujah"). But what they have in common is that approach,
despite an illuminating introduction by biographer and series editor benjamin moser, água viva left me desiring a bit more from this slender work. lispector's prose is as radiant as always, yet without even the flimsiest of narrative structures to support and lend balance to her often-challenging syntactical structure, the writing in água viva has little to cohere to. it is not so much lispector's lack of plot that makes this book arduous (straying, at times, precipitously close to tedious), but ...more
This book was kind of peculiar, and a bit of a revelation. On one hand it is the adverse of any standard narrative. It could maybe be considered stream-of-consciousness, but even that description doesn't seem to suit this text, because it seems more concerned with the spiritual than the psychological. It isn't even that experimental or abstract; experiential is a better way of describing it. Lispector's Stream of Life is to be experienced as one would experience meditation or a religious servic ...more
Chad Post
Some of the bits I like:

"The text that I give you is not to be seen close up: it gains its secret previously invisible roundness when seen from a high-flying plane. Then you can divine the play of islands and see the channels and seas. Understand me: I write you an onomatopoeia, convulsion of language. I'm not transmitting to you a story but just words that live from sound."

"It suddenly occurred to me that you don't need order to live. There is no pattern to follow and the pattern itself doesn't
This book articulates many intimate perceptions I previously lacked words for, and in other places she states the obvious recklessly or with intense interest, which furthers my attraction to her work. I made the mistake of reading other Goodreads reviews and felt a little sick. I won't say that other do not get this book but that I certainly know nothing. I will like this book in my ignorance then. I don't read for "plot." I don't understand why why anyone reads at all for that vulgar device som ...more
Mauricio Diniz

E eis que em breve nos separaremos
E a verdade espantada é que eu sempre estive só de ti e não sabia
Eu agora sei, eu sou só
Eu e minha liberdade que não sei usar
Mas, eu assumo a minha solidão
Sou só, e tenho que viver uma certa glória íntima e silenciosa
Guardo teu nome em segredo
Preciso de segredos para viver
E eis que depois de uma tarde de quem sou eu
E de acordar a uma hora da madrugada em desespero
Eis que as três horas da madrugada, acordei e me encontrei
Fui ao encontro de mim, calma, alegre, ple
JSA Lowe
"Am I one of the weak? a weak woman possessed by incessant and mad rhythm? if I were solid and strong would I even have heard the rhythm? I find no answer: I am. This is all that comes to me from life. But what am I? The answer is just: what am I. Though I sometimes scream: I no longer want to be I! but I stick to myself and inextricably there forms a tessitura of life."
I left it on the bedside so long that my husband eventually picked it up one bored day and read it instead of me. I'm afraid his frustrated exclamations at the Pretentiousness of This Nonsense has put me off it for awhile. I may come back when I can forget his face while he said it and accordingly, stop bursting out laughing at the thought of this book.
Mayra Correa e Castro
Água Viva (1973) é um choque. Há aqueles que preferem A Paixão Segundo G. H. (1964), há aqueles que não gostam de Clarice, mas não existem indiferentes ao desconcerto deste livro.

Você abre a primeira página e já fica bege. Que que esta mulher tá escrevendo?!

A boa notícia é que ela avisa logo de cara:

“Eu te digo: estou tentando captar a quarta dimensão do instante-já que de tão fugidio não é mais porque agora tornou-se um novo instante-já que também não é mais.” (p. 9)

A má notícia é que para por
Agua Viva must be read in one sitting, I believe, to allow for optimal submersion in the thought-world of the author/painter. The flowing thought-stream is punctuated by moments of aphoristic clarity, but these moments, when isolated, lose much of their impact. So when a moment resonates with you, you might highlight it. But can you highlight an excerpt of a shimmering lake? or the sweep of a violin bow across the string during an orchestra's swell? or a segment of an impressionist's masterpiece ...more
Michael Vagnetti
One hardly can turn a page the same way again. A love story to the reader, in a kaleidoscopic rhapsody of calmly violent confessions.The narrator, a painter newly turning to words, has a neophyte's wonder, and gifts her writing with a kind of complex and searching beginner's luck. She palpates this fiction of multiple simultaneous metamorphoses, birthing between painting and words, between word and world, between author and reader, between body and air. Yes, there are mystifying tangents, and wr ...more
"It's as if life said the following: and there simply wasn't any following. Only the colon, waiting. We keep this secret in muteness to hide the fact that every instant is fatal. The object-chair interests me. I love objects insofar as they do not love me. But if I don't understand what I write the fault isn't mine. I have to speak because speaking saves. But I have no word to say. What would a person say to himself in the madness of candor? But it would be salvation."
Mary W. Walters
Although Água Viva is officially classified as fiction, it is likely to appeal more to those with a taste for poetry than to those who prefer the more familiar manifestations of prose. Água Viva lacks narrative structure: in fact, one reviewer described it as “non-narrative fiction” — whatever that means. For the most part the author betrays even her own basic construct, which is that this work has been written by an unnamed narrator — a painter who is exploring the artistic possibilities of the ...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
What is it?

- It is not a normal story book.
- It is not a normal fiction (though the official title is fiction).
- It is also not a normal non fiction book.
- It is not a normal book.

It is a book that explains/tries to explain/speaks the "essence of all beings." It can be said of a book that contains some unorganized ontological philosophical musings.....

The author explores the indefinable source of all life - the force that gives life to all beings - the 'life-force/life-energy' that makes eve
«Deixo-me acontecer.» E assim nasceu este livro. Não me interessa, por agora, saber se quem se deixa acontecer é a própria autora ou apenas a protagonista de um romance ficcionado. Se for este o caso, para simplificar, daqui para a frente chamar-lhe-ei Clarice.
Mas como comentar racionalmente uma obra quando ela própria não o é?
«Será que isto que estou te escrevendo é atrás do pensamento? Raciocínio é que não é. Quem for capaz de parar de raciocinar - o que é terrivelmente difícil - que me acom
missy ward-lambert
I read this and then immediately could not remember anything that I had read but I felt changed by it. Read it like that, maybe: in the moment, like sinking into a long, long poem.

I was not crazy about Cixous' introduction, though it pains me to say it. In my opinion some of her word-by-word analysis was problematic because she was analyzing a translation and imbuing great significance to word choices that, while unusual in English, reflect colloquial language in Portuguese. It's a quibble, I gu
Una preciosa carta de amor. O de desamor. Aún no lo sé. Pero es definitiva.

"¿Qué estoy haciendo al escribirte? Estoy intentando fotografiar el perfume."
I had same issues with this book as I had with The Breath of Life. It felt like Lispector just rambled on and on about nothing. There were some nice, imaginative paragraphs within, but they were diluted between empty fillers that caused no emotions in me. I think self-exploratory books like this are just not for me. I like artsy writing, but I also need some kind of plot - at least a thin thread to hold on to, - that would justify me spending time on somebody's personal reflections.

I am looking
Água Viva starts out beautifully - and weird and unconnected, but that is alright because it is very controlled and very much what I'm used to from Lispector. But halfway through there is this part about flowers and what they symbolise and it just feels very... off. And it made me feel as if Lispector was not in control of this book after all, which was disappointing (but is also suggested in the introduction). The book never really came together for me after that, but there are beautiful beauti ...more
Mikael Kuoppala
As a concept this completely formless letter novel in intriguing, even if the subject matter, vague as it is, isn't among the most original. But in the end I found Lispector's writing just too hazy to get a grasp of. And I fear this is not a case of it being too challenging- not that a lack of clarity by itself wouldn't be a fault- but the sin of pretentiousness. I might be wrong, but to me this one seems like an interesting excercise that is too hollow to live up to its daring approach to story ...more
Peter Ellwood
A remarkable piece of work. It's not a novel, it's not poetry, I'm not sure what it is! I think the writer sums it up best herself: "I want to have the freedom to say unconnected things as a deep way of touching you".

And say them she does. No plot, no characters (except her and the man she is addressing), simply a set of "unconnected things", no story line. Actually, they are anything but unconnected - there is a carefully constructed and subtle progression of ideas which are introduced, then qu
You no sooner finish reading it then you want to reread it. There is so much to think about, reflect on. It is troubling, fascinating, provocative and well worth the effort--and it is an effort. Although it is only 88 pages long it took me a week to read it--and now I expect to begin rereading it tomorrow.
A love letter, to no-one, to everyone who is, to the ecstasy of being itself. Prose that astonishes with its muscularity, humour and breath-taking emotion. Simply, it is a book like no other I have ever read.
Sara Berger
Three spontaneous reactions after finishing this:

1) A scream. So good.
2) A sense of the infinite.
3) A feeling that I need read nothing else ever again, though of course I have to.
Talked about what a load of bullshit this book is here:
Connie Chuang
This is a book I will read and reread throughout my life. It's a work of art and poetry.
William West
With this work, Clarice Lispector sets for herself, it seems to me, a unique literary task. She is trying to use language in a fully abstract way, like an abstract expressionist painter uses lines and blots of color to convey a meaning that cannot precisely be put into.... words. She is trying to put into words what cannot be put into words. This may sound like a description of the poetic impulse, and there are poetic moments in the book. Certainly it has a rhythmic element to it- the work has b ...more
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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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“I want the following word: splendor, splendor is fruit in all its succulence, fruit without sadness. I want vast distances. My savage intuition of myself.” 497 likes
“But I welcome the darkness where the two eyes of that soft panther glow. The darkness is my cultural broth. The enchanted darkness. I go on speaking to you, risking disconnection: I’m subterraneously unattainable because of what I know.” 17 likes
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