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Near to the Wild Heart

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,717 ratings  ·  420 reviews
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 woman 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 a
Paperback, 220 pages
Published June 13th 2012 by New Directions (first published December 1943)
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Avery I'd start with her short stories, as they tend to be a bit more grounded and less experimental than her novels while still embodying her unique style.

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Fleetingly wonderful...

“All of me swims, floats, crosses what exists with my nerves, I am nothing but a desire, anger, vagueness, as impalpable as energy.”

Joana and Lídia - two women, two sides of one medal. Together, they would have been a deity.

On their own, they are two people sharing the love of one man, Otávio, who is floating between the stable, motherly safety of Lídia, and the wild, independent Joana, who can’t be owned by anyone:

“Either I light up and am wonderful, fleetingly
Where does music go when it’s not playing?—she asked herself.
And disarmed she would answer:
May they make a harp out of my nerves when I die.

A quest for measuring the eternity and finding some sense in defining the immortality while the object of all desires remains nothing but one’s own life. A truly wild heart.

Like a breath of fresh, melancholic air, Clarice Lispector finally entered my world and brought along an exquisite gift of precious reflections made out of the lyrical strands of

Clarice Lispector by Giorgio de Chirico, 1945

The title of this book is a phrase from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: he was alone, he was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. According to the introduction, Clarice Lispector didn't choose the title and hadn't actually read any Joyce at that point in her life. The title was chosen by a male friend and the bright pink cover of the first edition was chosen by a man in the publishing wing of the paper she worked
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, hispanic
He was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life.
_James Joyce.

Near to the Wild Heart is a tribute to James Joyce insofar as the title is taken from one of his novels under a writer's early influence that is a vital element in the commencement and development of a new talent with her pen out, uncapped. It is the delicate abyss of disorder carefully arranged with the abrasive and highly inquisitive stream of thought that marks her out, indeed, puts her above so many half

Freedom isn’t enough. What I desire doesn’t have a name yet.

It took me some time to understand that one can’t please everyone. And if you’re trying then sooner than later you'll end up feeling only disappointment and emptiness. Trying to pleasing others against your own desires and needs you only hurt yourself. And nobody even notices that.
Oh, Clarice how did you do that, that like hurricane, after all this is how you were named, entered in my well-ordered life? With this novel, so honestly
This is another book that has been on the to-read shelf for a very long time. My only previous experience of reading Lispector was Agua Viva, which was short but very difficult to follow, but her reputation is such that I felt I should try again, and her first book seemed a good place to start.

This one is also quite a difficult read - the translation reflects the unusual linguistic style of the original, it is poetic and largely about emotions rather than actions (there is a plot of sorts, as
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016

She wanted more: to be reborn always, to sever everything that she had learned, that she had seen, and inaugurate herself in a new terrain where every tiny act had a meaning, where the air was breathed as if for the first time. She had the feeling that life ran thick and slow inside her, bubbling like a hot sheet of lava. Maybe she loved herself ... And what if, she thought distantly, a bugle suddenly cut through that mantle of night with its sharp sound and left the plains free, green and vast
Roman Clodia
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Her whole body and soul lost their boundaries, they merged and fused into a single chaos, gentle and amorphous, relaxed and with uncertain movements, like matter that was simply alive. It was perfect renewal, creation.

Even though this was first published in the early 1940s (and was started when Lispector was, amazingly, just 19), it feels like a text which illustrates the theoretical concept of écriture feminine - not because of gender essentialism but because of the way gender is imbricated
Luís C.
The unleashing of lucidity.

In Near to the Wild Heart, Clarice tells the story of Joana, a girl who soon becomes an orphan of father and mother, and who has always had the habit of introspection. Speaking of Lispector, and especially this book, the sensation that runs through the veins after reading is a dive so deep in itself, deep enough not to return to the surface as before.
The narrative of the novel is broken, made of flashbacks of the memory of the main character, that fuse with his
I was just reminded by my GR friend Glenn Russell of all the great Brazilian authors that I have neglected and not rated nor reviewed. What a shame, being a Brazilian myself! I will try to correct this lack in the near future, starting with Clarice Lispector. I read almost all her work years ago, including Near to the Wild Heart, but they are always with me.

5-stars and highly recommended.
Near To the Wild Heart is a much-lauded novel by Brazilian author, Clarice Lispector. It was hailed as an unprecedented sensation from the pen of a 23-year-old law student and journalist. This introspective novel, written in the Portuguese language, won the prestigious Graca Aranha Prize for the best debut novel of 1943 and immediately established her as a powerful writer. For her use of interior monologue, Lispector’s work was compared to that of Joyce, Woolf, Proust, and Dostoyevsky. Near To ...more
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who think, those who revolt
Recommended to Junta by: GR friends' praise of the author
Shelves: translated, brazilian
What an intense and intelligent debut novel!
I'll be reading more of Lispector for sure.
I'd like to write a review for this down the track.

4.5 stars.

March 1, 2016
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did you know that if you carry books around long enough, moving them from house to house, country to country, they become part of you. You don't even have to open them. Let alone reread them! If your bookcase is near enough to your bed, you can dream their contents. Sentences and paragraphs. Entire novels will become part of your unconsciousness...
I read this eons ago (I was in my 20's!) while living in Mexico City. Yeah I read it in Spanish though it was written in Portuguese. It would've been
Chad Post
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There aren't enough superlatives to describe Lispector's writings. Whereas The Hour of the Star reminded me of a Virginia Woolf novel narrated by a prick, this seems much more like a Nathalie Sarraute book. One that is tricky in seeming a bit predictable or pat, but then transforming into so much more.

You win, Lispector, I'm now going to read all of your books.
I almost did not post my thoughts about this book. I seem to be the only person on the internet who doesn't think this book is amazing. A collection of Clarice Lispector's short short stories was published in 2015 and got lots of attention as well as praise. I got curious. As usual, I started with her first novel.

It is not fun or easy to read. The style is one of extreme introspection and stream of consciousness. I think many people go through this kind of thing at the cusp of adulthood. She
Ian Scuffling
Near to the Wild Heart is a beautifully crafted novel of the interior, of betrayal, of feminine agency. Joana, a precocious and surprisingly fatalistic, existential adolescent, grows up to be a distant if not "cold" lover to her husband Otavio, who goes on to philander on Joana with a former lover of his.

Lispector's prose and style is wondrous and mesmeric, or at least as its rendered here by Alison Entrekin, fully embracing an elevated, poetic manner that slips effortlessly into a
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My first reaction to its title was that why 'Near to' instead of 'Near' and I couldn't help but agree, since it's taken from a line by the formidable Irish author James Joyce, "He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life." (p. xiii) I'm a new Joyce reader, having decided not to read his Ulysses and Finnegans Wake and I had no idea till I read its introduction titled "Hurricane Clarice" informing me that it's from his Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as suggested ...more
Elli (The Bibliophile)
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, own
Before this week, I had never heard of Clarice Lispector. I stumbled upon an article from the New Yorker, about a collection of stories that was recently published, in which Lispector's work was compared to Nabokov's. Needless to say, as a huge fan of Nabokov, I was intrigued. I picked up Near to the Wild Heart from the library the next day and started reading it immediately.

First of all, this is a beautifully written and translated book! I found an interview with the translator, Alison
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible book that everyone who loves Virginia Woolf should read!
Highly recommended!
M. Sarki
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
A wonderful first trip into the Lispector interior. Amazing work for such a young woman. Lyrical and beautifully written. Easy to see the Hermann Hesse influences. I am not sure at all how she pulled this book off, but the sophistication was remarkable. It was a very slow read for me as I really was not interested in much of what was going on in it, but it was interesting for me to behold this Lispector power, unleashed and untamed.
John Nuño
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Near to the Wild Heart is esoteric novel about a married young woman, Joana, who not unlike the author herself, is consumed by her own hyper-awareness. Is it a gift or a curse to see so much, to know so much? In Joana's case, it seems like it's a lot of both. This is not an easy read by any stretch. This is not a big thick Pynchon-like novel - each page filled with as many words that can fit. Near To The Wild Heart is like a white dwarf star - it's not big in mass (it's only 186 pages) but is ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I give it 3 stars even though I have to honestly admit that I don't think I understood it full and I have the intention to reread it someday this year again.
As this slips in and out of consciousness it stays at the bottom of a dreary pool of misery. An enduring dissatisfaction pervades throughout the novel where the unconventional woman in focus, Joana, is anchored down by existential anguish. And perhaps like most of us drift from one “life milestone” to another: at times to be in touch, tethered with our own being, on others to be in an “acceptable” headspace of living. It rides the same train of life’s cyclic clichés. But the dissatisfaction of ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other_lit, 2017
It is her first work...

There ARE traces of what Lispector will become later in her career—philosophical poetry, fragmented narrative, and existential concerns—but to me, after reading 4 other novels by her, this is my least favorite, and probably the most boring. I repeatedly thought about putting it down, but I did persist till the end and, well, I was glad it was over when I got to the last page. Out of the 5 novels that are published in English, I'd say The Passions According to G.H. is her
Stephanie Baker Opperman
While I've really loved Clarice Lispector's other books, this one was tough to get through. The main character is disconnected and unemotional, and although I appreciate that she spends a good portion of the story self-reflecting about this, it's also really challenging to stay with her and care about what happens to her in the end.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, translation
beginning with benjamin moser's 2009 biography, why this world, and later the retranslations of four of her novels (starting with the stunning the hour of the star in 2011), clarice lispector and her writing have attracted a considerable amount of well-deserved attention of late. thirty-five years after her death, many english readers are now being introduced to the singularity of the brazilian author's remarkable prose. published when she was in her early twenties, near to the wild heart (perto ...more
To me, she is the one girl in my youth I could never get along with. All these questions, the bluntness, the excruciatingly painful ways in which she acts. Then this voice – strong-willed, antagonizing. Utter annoyance.

Joana is always thinking, thinking. She seems to always be questioning or contemplating on either this or that. She lives but the “who am I” is lurking out there needing to be answered. It is not enough “on the surface” but rather what is skin deep is her quest. Is she struggling
Inderjit Sanghera
As a prose stylist, Lispector closely resembles Virginia Woolf; the same idiosyncratic style and syntax, the of surreal descriptions of the mundane and everyday, the constant jumping back and forth between past, future and present.

Lispector's prose is able to accurately recreate the feelings and emotions of Joana, the heroine of the novel, from her childhood innocence to her tumultuous adulthood, there is something tactile about Lispector's style-as if the reader is breathing the air or touching
Simon Robs
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
De profundis … the thing itself.
Bob Redmond
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector published her first novel, NEAR TO THE WILD HEART, in 1943 at age 23.

It was an immediate sensation, written in a modernist style revolutionary for Brazilian literature. The book set the stage for Lispector's later (and equally praised) books, in which she also used stream of consciousness and other unorthodox writing techniques to explore similar themes, particularly the interior thoughts and emotions of strong female leads. The author, also a journalist and
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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
“How was she to tie herself to a man without permitting him to imprison her? And was there some means of acquiring things without those things possessing her?” 49 likes
“Queria saber: Depois que se é feliz, o que acontece? O que vem depois?” 37 likes
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