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Near to the Wild Heart

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,083 ratings  ·  352 reviews
Near to the Wild Heart is Clarice Lispector's first novel, written from March to November 1942 and published around her twenty-third birthday. The novel, written in a stream-of-consciousness style reminiscent of the English-language Modernists, centers around the childhood and early adulthood of a character named Joana, who bears strong resemblance to her author: "Madame B ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 17th 1990 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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4.04  · 
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 ·  3,083 ratings  ·  352 reviews

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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 wonderful
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
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

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 i
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

Timothy Leary's dead. No, no, he's outside looking in.

Mi dispiace davvero tanto, ho cercato con ogni buona volontà se non di farmelo piacere almeno di comprenderlo; ma ora io qui non ho nessun motivo per scrivere una falsa sviolinata soltanto perché è piaciuto alla maggior parte di amici e vicini, e l'unica verità che posso scrivere è che l'ho trovato cervellotico e farraginoso.

Quando ho iniziato a leggerlo non avevo idea di cosa aspettarmi: un po' per via del fatto che i vari commenti e rec
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-brasil, 2e
"Ele estava só. Estava abandonado, feliz, perto do selvagem coração da vida."
James Joyce
(Epígrafe de Perto do Coração Selvagem)

Este é o primeiro romance de Clarice Lispector, escrito quando tinha vinte anos, e o oitavo que leio. Comparando com as obras posteriores (para mim, anteriores), achei exageradamente palavroso, repetitivo, confuso, aborrecido...
A história é normal (?).
(view spoiler)
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 06, 2018 added it
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
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 day-to-
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: brazilian, translated
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
Chad Post
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: america-latina
La canzone della bambina portoghese

Sentì ch’era un punto al limite di un continente
sentì che era niente l’Atlantico immenso di fronte,
e in questo sentiva qualcosa di grande
che non riusciva a capire, che non poteva intuire.

E avrebbe spiegato se avesse capito lei
che l’oceano infinito,
ma il caldo l’avvolse, si sentì svanire e si mise a dormire.

Per parlare di questo libro indefinibile e infinito forse la celebre canzone di Guccini cantata dai Nomadi può servire: la Lispector mi ricorda la bambin
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
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
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 wr
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fuoco-viola, generose
Selvaggerie e altre infinità.

Il libro in questione è leggibile solo da chi non si attenda un romanzo e ami attraversare ponti di vetro, solido e trasparente, su dirupi. (Ponti di vetro, solido MA trasparente, su dirupi).
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slavi
“È curioso che non sappia dire chi sono. Cioè, lo so bene, ma non lo posso dire. Soprattutto, ho paura di dirlo, perché nel momento in cui tento di parlare non solo non esprimo ciò che sento ma ciò che sento si trasforma lentamente in ciò che dico.”

La Lispector aveva 19 anni quando scrisse questo romanzo, nel 1944. La protagonista è Joana, che viene vista prima bambina, poi ragazza, poi donna.

Joana è solitaria, indipendente, imperturbabile, fredda e indifferente davanti alle cose. Vive la sua vi
Elli (The Bibliophile)
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Entreki
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An incredible book that everyone who loves Virginia Woolf should read!
Highly recommended!
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
a 19 anni clarice lispector scrive così, affannosa e impetuosa come se non riuscisse a tenere dietro ai propri pensieri e tuttavia scegliendo con una spietatezza e un rigore adamantini i termini più appropriati per descriverli. chapeau.
alcune pagine le ho lette colma di ammirazione ma, strigni strigni, siamo alle solite: io col flusso di coscienza non ce la posso fare, mi rompo i coglioni, mi incazzo, mi metto in modalità mucca che guarda passare i treni, o tutte e tre le cose insieme come in qu
Domenico Fina
Libro fatto di guizzi di parole tra immaginazione stupefacente e realtà. Libro che coinvolge, a tratti, e allo stesso tempo non si lascia avvicinare. Si apprezza ma non a tutti è congeniale, a me perlomeno non del tutto.
Karina Vargas
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karina by: Estefimag
Cerca del corazón salvaje : ¡5 estrellas!

Nada de objetividad. Todos mis elogios y admiración para Clarice.

Cerca del corazón salvaje cuenta la historia de Joana, primero una niña y luego una mujer, incomprendida por todos, rara y diferente, que debe aprender a vivir y a convivir con el resto de la gente. Sumergida en esa confusión de su propio ser, sin necesidad ni interés más que en sí misma, en constante conflicto ante tal incertidumbre, se casa con Otávio, y él trae a Lidia consigo. Allí com
John Nuño
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 su ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reto-2017, abandoned
[Abandonado en la página 103].

Not my cup of tea.

Sencillamente no conecto con este tipo de narrativa deshilvanada. Seguro que hablamos de una obra capital y repleta de significado, pero a mí me ha aburrido soberanamente y no he encontrado en las reflexiones de Joana sobre la muerte, el deseo, la feminidad y el lenguaje ni un ápice de sentido, quizá algunos destellos dispersos.

«Sobre todo tengo miedo de decirlo, porque en el momento en que intento hablar, no solo no expreso lo que siento, sino que
M. Sarki
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
J. Watson (aka umberto)
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 not a Joyce reader 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 by her first love, the writer Lucio Cardoso. (p. viii) Ind ...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
“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?” 47 likes
“Queria saber: Depois que se é feliz, o que acontece? O que vem depois?” 33 likes
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