Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Água Viva (New Directions Paperbook)” as Want to Read:
Água Viva (New Directions Paperbook)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Água Viva (New Directions Paperbook)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,595 ratings  ·  275 reviews

Lispector at her most philosophically radical.

A meditation on the nature of life and time, Água Viva (1973) shows Lispector discovering a new means of writing about herself, more deeply transforming her individual experience into a universal poetry. In a body of work as emotionally powerful, formally innovative, and philosophically profound as Clarice Lispector’s, Água Viv
Kindle Edition, 105 pages
Published June 13th 2012 by New Directions (first published August 1973)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,595 ratings  ·  275 reviews

Sort order
Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”I know that my gaze must be that of a primitive person surrendered completely to the world, primitive like the gods who only allow the broad strokes of good and evil and don’t want to know about good tangled up like hair in evil, evil that is good.”

 photo Clarice20Lispector_zpsctiohho0.jpg

There is an unnamed narrator, an artist who is turning his/her talents away from canvas and paint, and exchanging his/her brush for a pen to try and express himself/herself with words. Now that I finished the book I realize that I have no idea of th
Steven Godin
"A fantastical world surrounds me and is me. I hear the mad song of a little bird and crush butterflies between my fingers. I'm a fruit eaten away by a worm. And I await the orgasmic apocalypse. A dissonant throng of insects surrounds me, light of an oil lamp that I am. I then go too far in order to be. I'm in a trance. I penetrate the surrounding air. What a fever: I can't stop living. In this dense jungle of words that thickly wrap around whatever I feel and think and live and transform everyt ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this short book composed of fragments, Clarice Lispector seeks to create a language to capture the instances that comprise a life. It's a book about dissolving boundaries. Lispector looks to painting and music to provide her with the tools to understand creation and expression in the context of a lived life. The work she has crafted reads almost as a dreamscape, as she moves from meditation to meditation, exploring language, identity, flowers, animals, love, sex, religion:

"I tremble with plea
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brazil
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,
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beguiling improvised abstractions about consciousness via short paragraphs about mirrors, flowers, horses, writing, being, painting perfume in the air, beatitude, joy, grace, how cats never laugh, always being born through thought, "is-ness," "it-ness," maybe best described/reduced as Beckettian Brazilian Beat prose-poetry? Unlike anything I've ever read -- much longer than its 88 pages. At times sophomoric, juvenile, ridiculous, superficial, zone-out-able, but then suddenly so much more, with p ...more
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
başı sonu olmayan bir monolog, bir doğaçlama yaşam suyu. ilk bakışta, bildik roman okuma deneyimiyle, anlaşılmaz ve hatta anlamsız görünüyor. ancak yazar/kahramanın da bizzat muhatabından istediği şekilde okunursa kendini açıyor. metni derinliğine rağmen yüzeysel okumak, anlamı satırlarda değil satır aralarında bulmak gerekiyor basit bir ifadeyle. durmadan, takılmadan okudukça, akışa bir süre müdahale etmedikçe anlatı kendi yolunu buluyor.

yazarın amacının biçim gösterisi olmadığını da belirtmek
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, favorites, intense
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
I think I am just not the right reader for Clarice Lispector. It's my second go at her, and while I can see, intellectually, the point of writing like this, I just fundamentally do not enjoy reading her; fundamentally, it comes down to a virtue slog.

I think part of the problem for me is that hyper-seriousness of the tone. While we can debate along with Pierre Desproges whether you really can laugh at anything -- I lean towards his view, but am still undecided -- the issues that come up in Lispe
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-brasil, 5e
"é uma infâmia nascer para morrer não se sabe quando nem onde."

Água Viva não tem um enredo. É uma longa carta escrita por uma pintora a um homem que amou. Não é um lamento, é um louvor poético ao Eu, à Natureza, à Liberdade, à Vida...

"E doidamente me apodero de mim, meus desvarios me sufocam de tanta beleza. Eu sou antes, eu sou quase, eu sou nunca. E tudo isso ganhei ao deixar de te amar."

"Conheci um ’ela‘ que humanizava bicho conversando com ele e emprestando-lhe as próprias características.
Jack Waters
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jack by: Kylee Hill
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
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
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Her birimiz sembollerle uğraşan sembolleriz, her şey gerçeğe sadece tek bir referans.’
Zaman, mekan, karakterler belli değil bu kitapta. Ancak şunu görebiliyoruz: ‘ben sana sesleniyorum, sana beni yazıyorum, sendeki ben-bendeki seni parlatabilmek uğruna’. Pek çok cümlenin altını çizdiğim, kolay okunduğu kadar kolay hazmedilemeyecek bir kitap oldu benim için.
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
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ajualatinos
Lispector siempre dijo que ganaba con la relectura, y no se si es eso, o simplemente que cada vez que la leo encuentro cosas distintas que me atraen y me atrapan. En esta novela, que no se si debería ser llamada novela como tal, o como prosa poética, o como qué, solo un libro de Clarice, no hay una historia. Son imágenes, muchas ya conocidas de sus otros libros, que para mi su cumbre llega en La Pasión Según GH. Está Dios, la naturaleza, el crear, las palabras, el amor, el presente, el destino. ...more
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you come to this text with the traditional prejudice of sensation as a unit of experience, expecting the conventions of a novel, you will walk away complaining of noodling. Better to go fishing with one's own hands, you'll say.

If you come to this text with wool socks and a cinnamon array forming the coffee skin, expecting the new ways of looking of poetry, you will shrink from the occasional awkwardnesses. Better to go fishing with one's own hands, you'll say.

However, if you swim the text,
Emily Roberts
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."
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Água Viva is a novel of ideas. It is not, however, a novel of ideas like Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being that retains the conventions of character and plot. Água Viva is devoid of characters and plot (although some readers may consider the author herself to be a character, and her efforts to "capture the present" to be a plot.) For this reason, I would sooner compare Água Viva to John Berger's And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos , Annie Dillard's The Writing Life , and ...more
Eℓℓis ♥
Héctor Genta
Un libro coraggioso. Un monologo in forma di lettera nel quale Lispector sceglie la strada rischiosa del flusso di coscienza camminando sul ciglio dell’illeggibilità: poca trama, pensieri espressi in frasi brevi e a volte disordinate, ad indicarne la frammentarietà. Parafrasando l’epigrafe, una citazione di Seuphor relativa alla pittura, si può dire che scopo del libro è indagare i misteri della parola, di una scrittura “totalmente libera dalla dipendenza della figura – l’oggetto –, che, come la ...more
Aug 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, translation
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 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
Cito perché capita a fagiolo: "Allora ho sognato una cosa che tenterò di riprodurre. Si tratta di un film che stavo guardando. C'era un uomo che imitava un artista del cinema. E tutto ciò che quell'uomo faceva veniva a sua volta imitato da altri e altri ancora. Qualsiasi gesto. E c'era la pubblicità di una bibita chiamata Zerbino. L'uomo prendeva la bottiglia di Zerbino e se la portava alla bocca. Allora tutti prendevano una bottiglia di Zerbino e se lo portavano alla bocca..."

Su un giornale che
Lízia Bueno
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Isso não é literatura, é bruxaria.
Justin Evans
A fascinating attempt to write a philosophical 'novel,' and one which should appeal to readers of the Camuses and Satres as well as those searching for new forms! I say attempt, because I'm pretty sure this is a failed attempt! Lispector's translators all bemoan the difficulty of getting her idiosyncratic Portugese into English, and I have to think, from the two novels I've read, that nobody's succeeded, because this (and The Passion) both sound like over-awed teenagers who've just realised they ...more
Marc Nash
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine you had a palette with all the words of the dictionary on it and you dabbed your paint and started applying and blending the words to the canvas. That's kind of what this book is, a meditation on life, death, time and art as a painter attempts to interrogate herself as an artist but now using words for her medium. The language is at turns breathtakingly achingly beautiful but also breathless as another paragraph quickly follows up to batter you around the head with its ideas and images. ...more
Mauricio Diniz
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own

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
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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."
-Neslihan K
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brasilian
"Beni okuduktan sonra şarkımı kulaktan yeniden üretmenin zor olduğunu biliyorum, onu ezberlemeden söylemek mümkün değil. Hikayesi yoksa bir şeyi nasıl ezberleyebilirsin ki?"

"Sana yazdığım şey bir "bu". Durmayacak: devam ediyor.
Bana bak ve sev beni. Hayır: kendine bak ve sev kendini. Doğru olan bu.
Sana yazdığım şey devam ediyor ve ben efsunluyum."
Ana Knjige su moj svijet


Pitanje koje se postavlja nije je li “Meduza” pretenciozna knjiga, ona sasvim sigurno to jest, nego je li pretenciozna bez pokrića?

Ja bih rekla da pokrića sasvim sigurno ima. U ovoj knjizi moguće je pronaći pravo bogatstvo izuzetnih misli i rečenice. “Problem” ove knjige je zasićenje tim mislima, mislima koje su nekad savršeno poetske, ali često i nebalansirano kompleksne, pa banalne. “Meduza” je književni eksperiment i kao takva nije knjiga za svakog čitatelja. Au
Thomaz Amancio
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um pouco como Palomar, de Italo Calvino, esse livro é uma espécie de dissertação filosófica escrita por vias narrativas.

Aqui a narrativa se reduz ao mínimo, a informações jogadas aqui e ali em maiores explicações: uma narradora que fala, que leva uma vida de apartamento, é pintora, tem uma empregada doméstica; e um interlocutor desconhecido. A narrativa termina aqui: não há descrições, não há ação.

Há somente o fluxo do pensamento da narradora em busca do âmago da vida. Parágrafo após parágrafo
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Brain Pain: Discussion - Week One - Água Viva 4 33 Feb 19, 2015 12:04AM  
Brain Pain: This topic has been closed to new comments. * Schedule for Discussions - Água Viva 1 21 Jan 18, 2015 06:12AM  
Brain Pain: * Questions, Resources, and General Banter - Agua Viva 1 16 Jan 18, 2015 06:08AM  
  • Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector
  • A Obscena Senhora D
  • The Three Marias
  • Farda Fardão Camisola de dormir
  • El asco: Thomas Bernhard en San Salvador
  • Borges and the Eternal Orangutans
  • Float
  • How I Became a Nun
  • Rebellion in the Backlands
  • Monsieur Pain
  • Microscripts
  • Ban en Banlieue
  • The Chase
  • The Psychiatrist & Other Stories
  • If This Be Treason: Translation and its Dyscontents: A Memoir
  • The Book of Promethea
  • Lucinella
  • Onde Andará Dulce Veiga?: Um Romance B
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
“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.” 574 likes
“You don't understand music: you hear it. So hear me with your whole body.” 52 likes
More quotes…