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A Obscena Senhora D

(Trilogia erótica-pornográfica #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  818 ratings  ·  88 reviews
O livro. Escrito na particularíssima prosa de Hilda Hilst, onde todos gêneros narrativos se fundem e os recursos estéticos mais variados são usados, A Obscena Senhora D é Hillé, que após a morte do seu amante, se recolhe ao vão da escada, para falar "dessa coisa que não existe, mas é crua e viva, o Tempo." Obra plena dos temas mais caros à autora -- o desamparo, a condição ...more
Paperback, 108 pages
Published 2001 by Editora Globo (first published 1982)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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I don't understand the body either, that caltrop, nor the bloody logic of days, nor the faces that stare me down in this village in which I live, nor what are a house, a concept, what legs are, what is coming and going, toward where and what, Ehud, what these old women are, the howls of childhood, these spent men, what do the fools think of themselves, the children, what is thinking, what is clarity, the sonorous, what is sound, a trill, a cry, a howl, what's a wing uhn?
People who talk of the
Justin Evans
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Holy Mary, yes. A long story about a woman who, for fairly obscure reasons, hides under the stairs and wears crazy masks? Whose husband is disturbed by this, but stays by her? It sounds ridiculous, but is in fact heartbreaking, fascinating, and hilarious, kind of like Thomas Bernhard if he was more imaginative (i.e., if he had any imagination at all). Hilst takes on small issues like, you know, god and existence and evil and madness and love, without ever seeming like she's avoiding more ...more
Alex Estes has written a really wonderful review of Hilst's novel for Full Stop, one in which he views this first publication of her work in English as "the literary miracle of 2012."

Estes's positioning of Hilst's work in the context of Hélène Cixous's notion of l'écriture féminine is spot-on. In Hilst's prose, reality is blurred with madness; the pious is conflated with the impious; and love, grief, and mourning are emotional states that cause profound meditations on individuality—as well as
Andre Odysseus
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of James Joyce; Fans of stream of consciousness.
Recommended to Andre by: Tatiana Feltrin (from Tiny Little Things)
This is the 1st book read for the latin-american literature month... Though it only starts in March, there are many books that I want to read in March that are big and complex (like Rayuela) which will take quite a bit of my time... So I am starting to read some of the books, and this is one of them.

I won't promise I'll review all the books of March, but I'll try.


The reason why I recommend for readers and lovers of Joyce it is because of the writing
Dustin Kurtz
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chad Post
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is really interesting. And unique. Reminds me a bit of Duras . . . a schizophrenic Duras. I'm not sure I completely understand this on my first reading, but there are a lot of great parts, such as the litany of curses Hille (aka Madame D) yells at her neighbors ("pig's woody," "cow's cunt") and this bit about trying to understand the body (the whole book is like an existential nightmare of trying to understand life and the relationship between body and self and other):

"Animals, say, why do
Leah Horlick
This was both weird and wild. Like if Charlotte Perkins Gilman possessed James Joyce, read "Wetlands," and then re-wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" but set in Brazil. Whoa.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow...this is a powerful piece of one of my favorite writing styles: the self-conscious stream of consciousness novel of reflection; The Obscene Madame D is a short, mad, sexy, shocking, brilliant look into the mind and life of the narrator, Hille (maybe it's Hilst's alter-ego, the introduction alludes) with her husband, Ehud, their passionate conversations and her experiences in the village where she lives . . . Right after finishing I was reminded of the same sense of absolute amazement I felt ...more
Leonardo Mascarenhas
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A few days ago, I went to my friend's house and there was a copy of this book. For some reason that I don't know at all, I took it up and started rereading it. That was probably one of the wisest choices I've made that day, because by reading HH, you feel something only few writers can provide.
Her writing style may seem weird at the beggining, but once you get used to it, it feels like you've been absorbed by the book and led to a world of fully awareness of how the language can work and how
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: btba-13, 2013
Madame D, who locks herself away under the stairs like a eremite retired to a cave, is possessed, haunted, infested with metaphysical terrors. This extremely compelling and bizarre novella skitters around between voices and vices in search of big answers, none of which are forthcoming. It's a work that demands multiple readings, I think, and is not for the faint of heart, as much attention is given to the putrescence of the physical--fucking, that is. (Or if you suffer more from metaphysical ...more
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A close friend of one of my favorites, Clarice Lispector, Hilst isn’t a far cry from the fragmentary, mutative mindset of that relation. This brief 57-page meta-monologue is stuffed to the gills with ideas of madness from a mind you actually want to see run rampant. It gushes in a somehow more intimate and raving Beckett-ian mode. I wish there were a shitload of little shattering novellas like this everywhere, available in gas stations, as a drug.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, brazil
The book is about Madame D, an elderly widow who contemplates issues like sex, grief and God in an almost delirious stream of consciousness style, one sentence flowing to the next without sign of what is thought and what is dialogue, present and past blended together. It seems confusing at times, but it is very well written and fluid.
Read it about three weeks ago, and even though I remember liking some parts of it, nothing really "stayed" with be. I do feel like this book is one of those you
Avi Bendahan
I hesitated between giving this book a 1 or 2 star rating, but chose the latter simply out of respect for the place it holds in Bazilian literature (as well as the, in my view inadequate, word associations to the various stars in a goodreads rating).
To say this book is a difficult read is rather an understatement. Hilst attempts to recreate the mindset of an individual clearly going through severe psychosis, but does not manage to make it readable in the long run; instead causing the reader to
Karen Wellsbury
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I don't really know how to begin to explain this book.
It's not poetry and it's not prose, it is something in between.
There are passage that reduced me to tears with their beauty, and others that made me feel physically ill.
The descent into madness is illuminated by flashes of awareness, time has no relevance.

Amazing ans beautful
James Tierney
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinary expatriation of voice. The only absence is silence
Logann Merritt
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-novels, 2-lasp
I believe Hilda Hilst knew things of life and language that no other human being could comprehend. I give this five stars because I enjoyed the beauty of the language just like I enjoy a song. I think I could read this a hundred times and each time I would fumble closer to what she wanted to convey but I know I would never get there.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very hard tracking this book. Much too convoluted for my taste.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fucking perfection. Fucking. And perfection.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i hate experimental literature. i really do. from the depths of my soul.
Lisa Serrano
A surreal reflection of a wife’s love for her husband with a bit of errotica & perfect for the avant-garde reader.
Very interesting book, wonderful writing with some exceptional passages of depth and confusion.
Full Stop

Review by Alex Estes

By now, it’s safe to say that the only women who benefited directly from the Latin American literary boom of the 60s and 70s were the wives of those writers who found themselves suddenly popular across the globe. It also might be safe to say that Latin American countries, following the suit of most others (U.S. included), has been unkind to their writers of the female gender — ironic really, given how many of its writers count their
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ehud, your softness enveloping me, the lividity of your face, teeth saliva, spasm, alive and coarse, what a thing the body is alive and young, what gleaming within, how old are we now? twenty? twenty-two? twenty-five? the sorrow of old age that remembers, the drizzle, those crumbs on the table, was it bread? what did we have on the table?
pomegranates and oranges.
the crumbling in the body of the soul now, papers on the table, words stuck to each page, claws, cold my God, nothing penetrates my
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"what you heard: a fright that became comprehension"

This book takes the abyss seriously. Not merely as a repudiation but as a provocation to all, that is.

It reads as a long torrent of fleshy words, full of scatology, lunacy, and missed connections. Hilst is engaged in the project of decreation. Pulling everything apart, so as to bring close as closeness Knowledge. An unknown quantity, which recognized as such, can only be approached by way of unknowing.

A good primer for the years to come. Let
Ketelen Lefkovich
Jun 06, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, i-prefer-pizza
Okay this is confusing, kinda poetic but hectic and non linear and what even? Not my type of book, not my type of writing and i tried but didn't like it. (I only read it because it's part of the collection and I intend to read them all).
Paula Savioli
Oct 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
So beautifully written. I'm sure I must have missed a lot of things, since it's so complex and written in a mad stream of consciousness style. But beautiful is the best word that comes to my head to describe it.
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A rare book of experimental prose with genuine appeal to new readers, Madame D has left me excitedly chattering away to my friends for weeks. Nathaniël's English translation was excellent.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2014
In part because this falls into the "I have never read anything like this before" camp.
Luciana Vichino
Jun 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Different and interesting. Very dynamic text.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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Hilda de Almeida Prado Hilst, more widely known as Hilda Hilst (Jaú, April 21, 1930–Campinas, February 4, 2004) was a Brazilian poet, playwright and novelist, whose fiction and poetry were generally based upon delicate intimacy and often insanity and supernatural events. Particularly her late works belong to the tradition of magic realism.

In 1948 she enrolled the Law Course in Faculdade de Direito

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Trilogia erótica-pornográfica (3 books)
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“sabe, Hillé, às vezes penso que fomos pai e filha, mãe e filho, irmão irmã, que houve lutas e nós, e fios de sangue, que eu tinha fome de ti, que eu te matei, que saía de tuas narinas um cheiro de noite dor incesto e violência, que eras velha e moça e menina, que uns guizos em mim se batiam estridentes cada vez que eu te olhava, que havias sido minha desde sempre, barro e vasilha, espelho e amplidão, infinitas vezes nós dois em flashes nítidos rapidíssimos, recortados em ouro, em negro, numa lua esvaída sombra e sépia, nós dois muito claros num parapeito de pedra cor de terra” 13 likes
“...e o que foi a vida? uma aventura obscena, de tão lúcida” 9 likes
More quotes…