Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Near to the Wild Heart” as Want to Read:
Near to the Wild Heart
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Near to the Wild Heart

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,848 ratings  ·  579 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 ge
Paperback, 220 pages
Published June 13th 2012 by New Directions (first published December 1943)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Near to the Wild Heart, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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.…moreI'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.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,848 ratings  ·  579 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Near to the Wild Heart
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 wonderf
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 dazzl

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

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 a
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 mea
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 i
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
J.L.   Sutton
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“She wanted even more: to be reborn always, to sever everything that she had learned, that she had seen, and inaugurate herself in new terrain where every tiny act had a meaning, where the air was breathed as if for the first time.”

Image result for lispector near to the wild heart

Clarice Lispector's Near to the Wild Heart is fantastic! I recently read James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man from which the title came. In that work, Joyce writes, “He was alone, unheeded, near to the wild heart of life.” In some ways, a similar type
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 t ...more
Stephen P
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those seeking a meaningful life
She lives in the squalor of emotional desolation. Not knowing or understanding herself she is disconnected from herself and therefore she is disconnected from others. But there is more for as she tries to understand herself; place the amorphous shards and pieces together to free a whole person; to be who she is and who she is becoming, she is exquisitely vulnerable. Whatever boundaries she has are barely visible. Therefore everyone and anyone can invade and make her who they want. It is terrifyi ...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
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
Reading Clarice Lispector is a profound experience. Her language is evocative, powerful and often mesmerizing to read. She speaks to us directly, baring her soul. The stories are not purely about the plot line nor characterization but what the characters think, feel, react to.

“Near to the savage heart” is Lispector’s first book, written when she was 24 years of age in 1944. The story recounts the story of Joana, from her childhood to when she leaves her husband. Partially based on her own live,
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lispector’s writing has a timeless quality. There are few references to specific places or events; instead, we’re deep in Joana’s psyche, following one epiphany after another as she tries to make sense of the exterior world. The book was given its Joycean title by someone else than the author, but the story greatly reminds me of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Growing up, family relations, teachers, sexuality, Christianity, and, above all, a preoccupation with mental landscapes. ...more
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 w
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: left-their-mark, 2020
to think she was only twenty two when she wrote this...........mind if i just go crazy. also thinking about that interview where the interviewer told her that what he felt reading her book was solitude and she answered “imagine the solitude of the person who wrote it” im
The truth is that if he didn't have money, if he didn't own the "conventionals," if he didn't love order, if the Law Magazine didn't exist, the vague plan for the book on civil law, if Lídia weren't separate to Joana, if Joana wasn't a woman and he a man if...oh, God, if everything...what would he do? Not, not "what would he do," but whom would he address, how would he move? It was impossible to slip between the blocks, without seeing them, without needing them...
The path by which I came to
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.
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boredom… Yes, in spite of everything there was fire under it, there was fire even when it represented death. Maybe this was the joy of living.

Lispector's biographer notes how singular the world found her novelistic voice when this debut novel was written in 1942, especially in Brazil. The notable comparisons were Joyce and Woolf. The strange detachment was linked to Kafka.

But, what of Beckett? These angst ridden asides aren't existential anthems but moments that most of us have witnessed.

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
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 m ...more
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I shall prove to myself that there is nothing to fear, that everything that I might be will always be wherever there is a woman who shares my origins. I shall raise within myself what I am — one day, at a gesture from me, my mighty waves will soar, pure water submerging my doubt, my conscience, I shall be as strong as the soul of an animal and whenever I might speak they will be slow, unthought words, not felt lightly, not full of a desire for humanity, not the past consuming the future! whateve ...more
Elli (The Bibliophile)
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2015
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 Entreki
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 stream-of-con
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!
andreea.  (paperrcuts)
I'm a picky reader exactly because I don't usually get this kind of complex, wonderful, fragmentary stream of individuality. I don't usually get writers dealing with one's own internal time and with the endless fluctuations in identity. Joana is beautifully insightful, both feminine and feminist, she is troubled and at peace, she is a feminine voice dealing with the real philosophical questions. The fact that we contain so many times, that we are made of time, that objects exist outside of ourse ...more
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.
Viv JM
Not sure how to rate this...occasional flashes of brilliant prose that were 5 stars but overall, I didn't much enjoy this level of navel-gazing, introspective stream-of-consciousness if I am quite honest, hence the 2 "it was ok" stars. What am I missing, I wonder?!? ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector
  • De laatste zomer in de stad
  • A Obscena Senhora D
  • With My Dog Eyes
  • Poemas
  • Scenes from a Childhood
  • Torto Arado
  • Повесть о Сонечке
  • O amanhã não está à venda
  • The Orange Eats Creeps
  • O avesso da pele
  • Júbilo, Memória, Noviciado da Paixão
  • São Bernardo
  • Se Deus Me Chamar Não Vou
  • O Quinze
  • As Meninas
  • Sentimento do Mundo
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

You may know actress Jenny Slate from her role as Mona-Lisa Saperstein on Parks and Recreation. Or maybe your introduction to her was through one...
40 likes · 14 comments
“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?” 58 likes
“When I suddenly see myself in the depths of the mirror, I take fright. I can scarcely believe that I have limits, that I am outlined and defined. I feel myself to be dispersed in the atmosphere, thinking inside other creatures, living inside things beyond myself. When I suddenly see myself in the mirror, I am not startled because I find myself ugly or beautiful. I discover, in fact, that I possess another quality. When I haven't looked at myself for some time, I almost forget that I am human, I tend to forget my past, and I find myself with the same deliverance from purpose and conscience as something that is barely alive. I am also surprised to find as I gaze into the pale mirror with open eyes that there is so much in me beyond what is known, so much that remains ever silent.” 48 likes
More quotes…