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The Hour of the Star

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  19,893 ratings  ·  1,727 reviews
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 de Janeiro and eking out a poor living as a typist, Macabéa loves movies, Coca-Cola, and her rat of a boyfriend; she w ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published February 17th 1992 by New Directions (first published October 26th 1977)
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Indira All of us are products of experiences, perceptions and interpretations. While the past had many cultures setting expectations from each one of these..…moreAll of us are products of experiences, perceptions and interpretations. While the past had many cultures setting expectations from each one of these.. I guess the present is free to depend on one's own will. Some seek the safety of pre-built cages and crawl into it and comfortably ignore one's caged existence..some choose to wander - it is all again - experiences which can be perceived and interpreted by one and the rest (less)

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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Lisa
What a delightful surprise!

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
J.L.   Sutton
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?”

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
Vit Babenco
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
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
BlackOxford
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Lispector Calls

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
Adina
A to Z around the world personal challenge - B is for Brazil

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
Steven Godin
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this remarkable novella Clarice Lispector uses an intricate narrative structure in order to represent a peculiar state of mind, something I found utterly refreshing. That mind belongs to Rodrigo, a well-off and cultured man, struggles to tell the story of Macabéa, an unhygienic, sickly, unlovable, completely forgettable person, and an altogether unideal typist living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. She is taken almost directly from stereotype. What Lispector does with her however, is investig ...more
Gaurav
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who are interested in postmodernism
As long as I have questions and no answers I’ll keep on writing.



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
Robin
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like to float philosophically
I returned to Clarice Lispector in the hopes of finding an appreciation for her that I missed in The Passion According to G.H., which confounded and tortured me in its nonsensical, philosophical maze. I hoped to redeem my less-than-stellar opinion of her by reading this, her last work.

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
Brina
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
At times known as the greatest Jewish writer since Kafka, Clarice Lispector was one of the foremost Brazilian writers of the 20th century. Born Chaya Pinkhasovna, her family emigrated from the Ukraine to Recife, Brazil when young Chaya was a little more than a year old. It was in the northeastern corner of South America's largest country that Lispector found the inspiration for her life's work: writing. The Hour of the Star is called by many to be her greatest work, published within a year of he ...more
Adam Dalva
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird, charged, lyric little novella - very entertaining when it gets going and wonderfully surreal at the beginning, but the two sides don't quite match. Lispector is always surprising, always interesting. ...more
Sidharth Vardhan

"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
Ben Winch
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lately I find myself in the frustrating position (not uncommon among booksellers) of being surrounded by far more books than I can read. Not only are there books in the shop, but in my spare moments at work I browse Goodreads, Abebooks and my local library system, and so have a constant stream of books passing through my hands, many of which I can do no more than glance at before returning them or putting them away for later. Into this deluge has flowed this novella by Clarice Lispector, a book ...more
Lizzy
“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
Kris
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I swear this book is made without words. It is a mute photograph. This book is a silence. This book is a question."

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
Violet wells
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This made me realise what a remarkable achievement Virginia Woolf's The Waves is because of how it sustains poetic inspiration from beginning to end. Not that this reminds me of The Waves; more it reminded me of the private glimpses she gave us of how she went about composing and structuring her book in her journal. Hour of the Star takes us into the mind of a writer in the act of composition. Lispector shares with us her inspirations along with her doubts. She includes in the narrative stray th ...more
Paul
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: south-american
A deceptively short novella with a minimal story which has an underlying philosophical intensity that belies the simple plot. It is the story of Macabea narrated by the rather mysterious Rodrigo SM; he plays a slightly ambiguous role in the story; his asides are amusing and he appears sympathetic. However I suspect he is a rather unreliable and deliberately male narrator.
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
Michael
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
A strange novella about the life of a meager girl, The Hour of the Star reflects on life, love, and, above all else, storytelling itself. The short work takes place in the slums of Rio, and follows the working-class typist Macabéa as she fruitlessly searches for fame and romance; a mean-spirited and absurd twist ends the plot on a note of violence. The novella is told from the perspective of an affluent but spiritually void old man, a distant observer who spends the first third of the book quest ...more
Jan-Maat
Oh muse, aid me, by God's toe and the bones of saints' uncounted.

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
Kalliope
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition



Interstellar Heap of Dust


Sim.

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
Emily B
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very unique style of writing and I have to say I preferred parts of it to the whole. However I was fascinated by it and it’s short length allowed me to not get annoyed with the unorthodoxy while reading it.

‘Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person
Richard Derus
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.875* of five

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
Alex
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are these deep sea vents? They spew hot weird chemicals up from the middle of the earth and this whole ecosystem, all this life, has evolved all by itself down there. It doesn't work like ours does, it doesn't use the sun for energy, it's off doing its own thing entirely. I might be getting this wrong. I'm no scientist.

like this but with books
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
Aubrey
4.5/5

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
Marchpane
"(If the reader is financially secure and enjoys the comforts of life, he must step out of himself and see how others live. If he is poor, he will not be reading this story because what I have to say is superfluous for anyone who often feels the pangs of hunger. Here I am acting as a safety-valve for you and the tedious bourgeoisie. I know that it is very frightening to step out of oneself, but then everything which is unfamiliar can be frightening. The anonymous girl of this story is so ancient ...more
Steve
Dec 08, 2016 added it
Shelves: portuguese


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
[P]
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitchin
I know that women are not intrinsically weak, that they are not more vulnerable than men; I know that unhappiness is not gender specific, that both sexes can suffer equally, and yet something deep in my psyche tells me that a woman’s sadness, her pain, is worse than a man’s, that it is less acceptable or tolerable. Philip Larkin once wrote that ‘they fuck you up, your mum and dad, they may not mean to but they do,’ and I don’t know if I would go that far, but if I had to trace these feelings bac ...more
Antonomasia
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Antonomasia by: Mookse March Madness tournament of books
1986 translation by Giovanni Pontiero

[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
Monica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M. Sarki
May 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So Mr. Moser does the Lispector biography which I plan on reading soon as it arrives in my waiting hands, but then I read this bit here that Moser himself translated and he is making his comments of gushing praise for it saying that the book was the very first exposure he had to Lispector's genius and I am at the very same time finding myself getting a little bit sick to my stomach with all this loving on her, though I do realize she was beautiful in a Marlene Dietrich sort of way, and I also kn ...more
Florencia
I write because I have nothing better to do in this world: I am superfluous and last in the world of men. I write because I am desperate and weary. I can no longer bear the routine of my existence and, were it not for the constant novelty of writing, I should die symbolically each day. Yet I am prepared to leave quietly by the back door. I have experienced almost everything, even passion and despair. Now I only wish to possess what might have been but never was.


Feb 27, 17
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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
...more

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“Everything in the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born.” 196 likes
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