A Hora da Estrela
A história da nordestina Macabéa é contada passo a passo por seu autor, o escritor Rodrigo S.M. (um alter-ego de Clarice Lispector), de um modo que os leitores acompanhem o seu processo de criação. À medida que mostra esta alagoana, órfã de pai e mãe, criada por uma tia, desprovida de qualquer encanto, incapaz de ...more
I didn’t know anything about Clarice Lispector when I picked up this slim novel, and started reading. She had me in her dedication already, starting with the (ir)reverent sentence:
"I dedicate this thing here to old Schumann and his sweet Clara who today alas are bones."
Nothing drags me into a story like such an opening. What can I expect? Irony, sarcasm, cultural reflections on music, a novel - or a “thing” of some other definition? Absolutely brilliant! One short se ...more
The personality of the narrator remains a mystery but his wish to mock Saint John the Evangelist is evident:
All the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born. But before prehistory there was the prehistory of prehistory and there was the never and there was the yes. It was ever so. I don’t know why, but I do know that the universe never began.
So the raconteur create ...more
Clarice Lispector's The Hour of the Star is ostensibly about a young woman, Macabea, in Rio de Janeiro who has been crushed by poverty. However, the novel is even more revealing of the narrator who chooses to write about her. The narrator tells you why he's chosen to follow Macabea, something about her habits (she loves Coca Cola and wants to be like Marilyn Monroe) and her occupation (she ...more
The Hour of the Star transcends genre. How, with utter fluidity, does an apparently conventional narrative transform itself into the author's introspective confessional? And when does that slip into narcissistic myopia which then becomes therapeutic technique? Before it develops simultaneously into a romance, a feminist tract, and a pointed sociological commentary? All in 90 pages?
Clarice Lispector is difficult to keep up with simply because she writes the simplest prose with ...more
As you can see, my challenge is progressing badly together with my reading in general. Due to life I did not have the time or the mood to read anything for the past 2-3 weeks and I also made a swift disappearance from here. I hope I'm back to reading and to GR but I can't be sure.
I finished The Hour of The Star three weeks ago and I waited for the inspiration to hit me so I can write a meaningful review. As that did not happen a few m ...more
Books, what are they for? Why do we read them? For Kafka, books were “the axe for the frozen sea within us”; Carl Sagan held them as “proof that humans are capable of working magic”. We say that particular arrangement and assortment of words create a world whose roots are hidden in the imagination of the author. Fiction per se, though is about things which may not exist in real world however it is very much about writing truth- to ...more
Sadly, even in the first few paragraphs, I was sighing. Clarice! For fuck's sake... Clarice, as it turns out, is still Clarice.
And by that I mean, Clarice is a brilliant wackadoodle whose utter originality sets he ...more
"Every once in a while she wandered into the better neighborhoods and gazed at the shop windows glittering with jewels and satin clothes — just to mortify herself a bit. Because she needed to find herself and suffering a little is a way of finding."
One of these days, I'm going to put out a list of 100 most iconic book characters I have read and Macabea of this little book is going to be one of them. She is beautiful, she is healthy, she is confident, she is clever, she is witty, she is ...more
“Everything in the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born.”
Thus opens the The Hour of the Star. Published just before Clarice Lispector’s death, reading it you could wonder if there is little of the intimate Lispector of Near to the Wild Heart. However, she betrays herself from the start. If in her first novel it was by its title, here we discover it in her opening lines. However, it goes much deeper than the mere allusion to Joyce. If her ...more
Benjamin Moser's translation of Clarice Lispector's final work is extraordinary. He preserves her unusual word order and her way of bringing new meaning to ordinary words, and the result is an absorbing work that brings the reader right up against existential questions of language and life, questions Lispector was confronting as she completed this novella shortly before her death. ...more
Macabea has moved to Rio from Northern Brazil and is now alone in the world; strictly brought up by her aunt she is portrayed ...more
The problem with reviewing this book, is this book, but that is narrow minded of me, sorry, a problem with reviewing this book, is this book, another problem with reviewing this book, is reviewing. Perhaps there are further valid difficulties to list, I would not like to deny that possibility.
So I could say it is unique, but I haven't read all the books that ever there were so that could be lying, it is offbeat and weird but not s ...more
Interstellar Heap of Dust
This is how Clarice Lispector chose to finish her book: with the same word as Joyce did. His famous Yes. But she began with it too. For as she says in her opening line, everything in the world began with a Yes.
And so she unfolds her story. Or lets her male narrator unfold it. Several barriers are thus created between her and us and her story – his story. And the Hour of the Star, not one of those in heaven, but the Star as a celebrity, is the title for the st ...more
I’ve been putting off any attempt at writing on this one because: A) it’s rather a challenge without spoilers (although, depending on how one reads the title, the very idea of spoiler is rather silly) and B) this is one I would expect casual readers to dislike…intensely. Which leads me to:
You have confused the true and the real.A line that Elizabeth Hand, in Fantasy & Science Fiction calls Dhalgren’s “minatory epigraph.” I’m not a reader of F&SF or Ms Hand, but, dammit, they both deserve cred ...more
The Publisher Says: The Hour of the Star, Clarice Lispector's consummate final novel, may well be her masterpiece. Narrated by the cosmopolitan Rodrigo S.M., this brief, strange, and haunting tale is the story of Macabéa, one of life's unfortunates. Living in the slums of Rio and eking out a poor living as a typist, Macabéa loves movies, Coca-Cola, and her rat of a boyfriend; she would like to be like Marylin Monroe, but she is ugly, underfed, sickly, and unloved. Rodrigo r ...more
‘Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person
It was a grave mistake to commit to a binge of 200 or less page works, especially after so long a stint of the eighth longest novel in existence, third longest in English (looking at you, Women and Men) because I had forgotten how utterly manic tiny works can leave me. Can, because this is not a common complaint, as the last time this happened was with poor Zweig's Chess Story that left me bawling in my brain and stone cold in my expression. You should try it some time. I don't really mean ...more
like this but with books
Anyway, but "She's never read anything," said Clarice Lispector's first translator, Elizabeth Bishop. "She's the most non-literary writer I've ever k ...more
Clarice Lispector (1920-1977)
Forgive me but I'm going to keep talking about me who am unknown to myself, and as I write I'm a bit surprised because I discover I have a destiny. Who hasn't ever wondered: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?
Goodreads doesn't need yet another review of Clarice Lispector's The Hour of the Star (1977), published shortly before she was taken to hospital to succumb to inoperable ovarian cancer. I held my peace after reading her first novel, Near ...more
[4.5] Camp verbal high drama of the greatest sincerity [see Susan Sontag's 'Notes on Camp' re. significance of sincerity] transforms the potentially infuriating framing device of a fussy amateur writer, and the abject slum-life of his main character, into quite glorious fireworks.
What a difference a translation makes! Not for the first time of course, but somehow it took experience to remind me just how much. I never could get into Robert Baldick's version o ...more
She grew up in northeastern Brazil, where her mother died when she was nine. The family ...more