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The Complete Stories

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4.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,809 ratings  ·  220 reviews
The recent publication by New Directions of five Lispector novels revealed to legions of new readers her darkness and dazzle. Now, for the first time in English, are all the stories that made her a Brazilian legend: from teenagers coming into awareness of their sexual and artistic powers to humdrum housewives whose lives are shattered by unexpected epiphanies to old people ...more
Paperback, 650 pages
Published 2018 by New Directions (first published May 26th 2011)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,809 ratings  ·  220 reviews


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Glenn Russell
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing


Literature saves -- master of the craft, Clarice Lispector from Brazil

This recently published collection translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson of all eighty-six Clarice Lispector short stories is a treasure. Inventive in both style and content, a number of these masterful stories will haunt a reader, but, for me, none more haunting than the following piece I have chosen to make the focus of my review:

THE FIFTH STORY
The Attack: One of the acknowledged kings of fiction editing, Gordon
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
“The courage to be something other than what one is, to give birth to oneself, and to leave one’s former body on the ground. And without having answered to anyone about whether it was worthwhile.”

Meet the Muse of Group .BR

Clarice Lispector's The Complete Stories includes 85 short stories and spans her entire career, from her very earliest writing to stories she wrote late in her life. Though there are recurring themes such as love, marriage, motherhood and domesticity, it is the intensity with which Lispector observes t
...more
Geoff
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Each of our days is a strange prism, subdivided like the problem of Achilles and the Tortoise into ever-retreating fragments of memoried experience - in this continual tideflow of lifeshards somehow "the human" can be identified. With this we write our stories.
E. G.
Introduction: Glamour and Grammar, by Benjamin Moser

First Stories
--The Triumph
--Obsession
--The Fever Dream
--Jimmy and I
--Interrupted Story
--The Escape
--Excerpt
--Letters to Hermengardo
--Gertrudes Asks For Advice
--Another Couple of Drunks

Family Ties
--Daydream and Drunkenness of a Young Lady
--Love
--A Chicken
--The Imitation of the Rose
--Happy Birthday
--The Smallest Woman in the World
--The Dinner
--Preciousness
--Family Ties
--Beginnings of a Fortune
--Mystery in São Cristóvão
--The Crime of the Mathemati
...more
Katia N
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection deserves a proper review, but I am fighting with my son for the limited computer resources and losing the battle. So, for now just a few thoughts.

It is amazing to see how multidimensional was her talent and to follow how the themes of her stories changing with time from domestic life of a woman to something totally abstract and transcendental.

In her language, her word imagery, she effortlessly transcends the usual limits between different facets of the sensual word:

"The shadows
...more
Lisa
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
[3.5] A dizzying collection of stories that provoked a range of emotions in me. Many of the stories tell, in a surrealistic, dreamy way, about the horror of a "silent, slow, persistent life." A thread of disappointment runs through the stories - Lispector's women straddle a tenuous line between contentment and suffocation. Her stories are often confusing, sometimes tongue-in-cheek and usually left me shaking my head.

After the first twenty or so stories, I was tempted to quit. The interior dialo
...more
Ben Winch
As must be obvious to anyone who’s read her, Clarice Lispector is an original. The Hour of the Star – until 2009 by far her most prominent work in English – is a dizzying game of mirror-selves, stark and unsparing, and to those unfamiliar with her work probably as jarring an introduction to an author as it’s possible to have, short of mid-period Samuel Beckett. Other major works A Breath of Life (her Unnamable) and The Passion According to G.H. (until recently my favourite, and the only one I co ...more
Annelies
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful collection of stories by a great talent. Her talent lays in the fact that she never takes things for evident. All is to be questioned and dissected. She can make great stories of big trivialities.
Tara
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Clarice Lispector for the first time is like falling in love. Each of her stories is a rare jewel. Shocking, funny and wildly imaginative, this collection is a landmark, reclaiming her as one of the underrated voices of the twentieth century.
BHodges
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
No one starts a story off better than Clarice Lispector, one of my favorite authors.

From the first story: "The clock strikes nine. A loud, sonorous peal, followed by gentle chiming, an echo."

To the last: "I doubt that death will come. Death? Could it be that the days, so long, will end?"

I'm not satisfied that those are the best examples. There are much better ones, but I couldn't be bothered to type them out because they just don't stop. The beginning just seamlessly flows into the rest of the
...more
Anirban Nanda
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I heard about Clarice Lispector from a bookreading community but never felt intrigued. Then I read an article about some prominent writers whose groundbreaking works were getting translated into English and were getting the classic tag. So I went ahead and read Clarice’s two stories available online. I liked them and started reading the thick volume of her complete stories. And my concept of literature got redefined (I confess, for an amateur writer, this happens a lot but this time it was notab ...more
Connor
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Going into this I thought there was no way that Clarice Lispector would live up to the hype. I mean, to be compared to Borges and Kafka is a pretty difficult to measure up to. She absolutely does.

Lispector is amazing, truly amazing. I am so glad that all her stories were collected in this, and I cant wait to work through her novels. She has a perfectly tuned prose style and a fantastic knowledge of the depths of the human soul.
Barbara McEwen
This is a huge beast of a collection. Some stories blew me away and others went completely over my head. Based on the ratings, I am guessing it's just me that feels completely confused after some. I really enjoyed the her stories on sex, aging and death. Oh, side note she is obviously very terrified of being fat. Judging 'fat' people comes up a lot.
Adam Chant
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best collections of short fiction I've ever read.
Smiley
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.50-star

This middleweight 650-page volume translated by Katrina Dodson is my third encounter with Clarice Lispector (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarice... her Family Ties (University of Texas Press 2008) translated by Giovanni Pontiero being the second one. Literarily, I think her two key typical writing styles would follow either the traditional or the stream of consciousness. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_...) For instance:

Pig Latin
("A lingua do 'p'")

MARIA APARECIA -- CIDINHA,
...more
Abby
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“She’d returned so completely: now she got tired every day, every day her face would sag at dusk, and then night would take on its former purpose, it wasn’t just the perfect starlit night. And everything lined up harmoniously. And, as with everyone else, each day wore her out; like everyone else, human and perishable. No longer that perfection, no longer that youth. No longer that thing that one day had spread brightly, like a cancer, to her soul.” (“The Imitation of the Rose”)

The marvelous stra
...more
Aimee
Although I read this in Spanish, this review will be in English because it's 3:20 AM and I am a slow writer in Spanish.

What is there to say that hasn't been said about Clarice Lispector? She was a gem, a really true gem and more than a writer but also a keen observer of the mind. She has dissected every distraught human emotion possible and captured them into words so eloquently. I was in awe of what I was reading. I was in awe that so much of her words rang true. At times, this was so hard to r
...more
Subashini
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've lived with these stories since October and it's a book that's quite impossible to review or rate on a star system. These are all of Lispector's short stories and there are many failures here, places where she attempts to transcend language or basic human experience mediated by words and fails consistently because language is inadequate. These failures are exquisite, because it's rare to read writing that consistently reveals its technical flaws. It helps that Lispector is sharp, intelligent ...more
Rachel León
So many of these stories are incredible and brilliant. So glad I finally read this one.
Paul Fulcher
Mixed feelings on this.

Clarice Lispector is clearly a great author and this is an important addition to her works in English, and an impressive achievement by the translator Katrina Dodson and editor, and Lispector's biographer, Benjamin Moser. Dodson's translation is excellent, in particular she preserves the deliberate ruptures in Lispector's Portuguese which other translators have been tempted to smooth over.

But as a book to read, it didn't really work for me. I'm not a fan of short-story co
...more
Franco Romero
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After discovering 'The Passion According to GH' last year, I knew I had to read more of Lispector's mystic, deeply thoughtful work. This collection of 86 short stories did not disappoint.

There is so much greatness in these pages. Her stories are neurotic, obsessive and always enlightening. As the translator's note at the back of the book confirms, once you get caught up in the meat of Lispector's work, she will have you following her otherworldly logic. It is natural to feel maternal towards Go
...more
Kate Savage
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

There are at least four short stories about chickens. Also appearances by flies, oysters, buffalos, and marmosets.

And humans, including a few wonderfully mean old women, like this one from "Happy Birthday":

"There they were milling about boisterously, laughing, her family. And she was the mother of them all. And what if she suddenly got up, as a corpse rises slowly and imposes muteness and terror upon the living, the birthday girl stiffened in her chair, sitting up taller
...more
Theresa
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-class
My general reaction after finishing 90% of these stories was “what....”
Simon Robs
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Chicken & eggs, rooster & rats, Coca-Cola & coffee ... these come up often and throughout her stories along with unsure womanly characters subservient to their times and situations. Words scattered like chicken scratch then to follow that theme always in search of a hold to gather a meaning that never comes full yet insinuating hope. Think Burroughs' Beat cutups in rural south America reach for modernization falling short. Everything truncated and obtusely blunted while flowers poked through the ...more
Magdelanye
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
This gigantic collection only whets my appetite to read all of thos works, not just a selection.

Incisive, brilliant, cool but not cold.


Apparently there are more translations to come...

Mark
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is definitely a best part, mostly the collection family ties and into some stories in the foreign legion, but overall this collection is wonderful all the way through.
ash newton
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
i first heard about clarice lispector through a mention of the song "clarice" on caetano veloso's debut album, with lyrics by josé carlos capinam. as it turns out, the song was not written about her as clarice is a fairly common name (though veloso declared his admiration for her work in his autobiography), although the refrain "que mistério tem clarice" certainly applies to the author in question. each story in this collection reveals her brilliance in a new way, and now i'm quite curious as to ...more
Bert
Starting these Collected Stories I decided to read the separate publications (as collected and ordered in this volume) separately as well, to savour both the individual stories as the development of their writer better. Better - because I started this collection while reading Benjamin Mosers biography 'Why This World', in which the development of Lispectors writing is accurately framed in her personal as well as the bigger history of Brazil and the wider world. I intended to give each publicatio ...more
Easton Smith
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Clarice writes the revolution on the level of the everyday: the trip to the store, the encounter with an acquaintance on the street, the laundry hanging in the backyard, the chicken looking in your eye. Every house is a world, every housewife an animal there. She writes the revolution on the level of the sentence; with a single word. I loved so many lines in this book, so many scenes, so many characters.

I do think there were some stories in the middle of her career that didn’t land for me as mu
...more
Paul Ataua
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a find! I was so lucky to come across this. Lispector is such an original writer and the stories are so thought provoking. It is one big book with over eighty stories, and they are mostly stories that cannot be read one after the other. The Complete Stories has become my readers equivalent of a morning dip in the pool, and there are many such mornings to come.
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2,341 followers
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

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