Brain Pain discussion

Near to the Wild Heart
This topic is about Near to the Wild Heart
69 views
Near to the Wild Heart - Sp 15 > Discussion - Week One - Near to the Wild Heart - pg. 1 - 92

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
This discussion covers page 1 – 92



“She twirled around and stopped still, watching without curiosity the walls and ceiling that spun and melted away. She walked on tiptoe only treading on the dark floorboards. She closed her eyes and walked, hands outstretched, until she came to a piece of furniture. Between her and the objects there was something, but whenever she caught that something in her hand, like a fly, and then peeked at it – though she was careful not to let anything escape – she only found her own hand, rosy pink and disappointed.”
(page 6, The Father…)



Note: Although this text is a kind of continuous narrative, each section is somewhat standalone. To help each other in this discussion, I suggest we include the title of the section when quoting passages – i.e. “Joana’s Day” or “Refuge in the Teacher”


message 2: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
So far, it looks like I'm reading this solo.... quel dommage...

Lispector's first novel is quite amazing in how she presents scenes, characters, and emotional responses, especially in the character of the protagonist, young Joana.


Sarah | 10 comments I'll be joining you Jim, I'm going to start reading tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to reading this, the piece you posted above is beautiful.


Nicole | 143 comments I have the books, in my possession, in a pile on my floor. I'm just for some reason reading really slowly lately. It's a slump, but I'm coming, eventually.


message 5: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Nicole wrote: "I have the books, in my possession, in a pile on my floor. I'm just for some reason reading really slowly lately. It's a slump, but I'm coming, eventually."

Sarah and Nicole, happy to have you along for the read!

There's a beauty and sadness and profundity in this work that comes through on essentially every page. I can understand why it was so well received when it was first published.


Sarah | 10 comments I'm a third of the way through & really enjoying Lispector's writing. I find the protagonist, Joana, to be very compelling and I'm interested to see where her journey through life will take her. Joyce's work has obviously had a huge influence on Lispector, the childhood chapters are giving me a very strong "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" vibe.


message 7: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "I'm a third of the way through & really enjoying Lispector's writing. I find the protagonist, Joana, to be very compelling and I'm interested to see where her journey through life will take her. Jo..."

Definitely Joyce and A Portrait... - which is where she pulled the title for the book.

The opening story is particularly strong and captures something authentic about being a child and about how the world is perceived as being completely centered around the child's experience.


Nicole | 143 comments So far, which is not very, my impression is this:

there is something so absolutely and exactly true in this about the way conformity is built inside a person's own thoughts, especially a child's, about how a person can be separated from her own knowledge of what she is like and what she wants. And how this separation might be imposed from without to render a person obedient. I cannot articulate it any better than that, but it's still the thing that I, so far, am liking the best.


Cathie (cathiebp2) | 4 comments Began reading this this morning. I have been reading up on the author before starting this. May be over my head although I enjoyed a previous read utilizing stream of consciousness as a narrative, Among Others.

May do a reread sooner than later as I have on my TBR Madame Bovary and Finnegans Wake, this being the only Joyce I have will have read.

This feels for me a sort of along the lines of The House on Mango Street read.


message 10: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Cathie wrote: "Began reading this this morning. I have been reading up on the author before starting this. May be over my head although I enjoyed a previous read utilizing stream of consciousness as a narrative, ..."

I think you'll find Near to the Wild Heart a little bit easier than Finnegan's Wake...


message 11: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Nicole wrote: "So far, which is not very, my impression is this:

there is something so absolutely and exactly true in this about the way conformity is built inside a person's own thoughts, especially a child's,..."


Right, conformity, or maybe lack of conformity, and maybe how this lack of conformity is perceived by others who have conformed. This is part of what attracts Otavio to Joana.


Cathie (cathiebp2) | 4 comments Jim wrote: "Cathie wrote: "Began reading this this morning. I have been reading up on the author before starting this. May be over my head although I enjoyed a previous read utilizing stream of consciousness a..."

Yes perhaps, but challenging nontheless


Cathie (cathiebp2) | 4 comments So far it seems to me she is always thinking, thinking. She seems to always be questioning either this or that.

I feel she writes as intensely as she thinks. Wish I knew Portuguese as I feel there may a bit of a loss in translation...


message 14: by tia (new) - added it

tia | 51 comments Lispector deserves so much better.
Will be joining the discussion shortly...


message 15: by tia (new) - added it

tia | 51 comments Joana is a young woman whose mind cannot find rest. She struggles to balance her searching intellect with her longing for companionship. As her teacher laments, she may be loved, but she will never be understood. Joana vacillates between acceptance of these terms and a profound resignation from others, including her conscious self. She allows her multiple selves to explore one another and as a result has a hyper awareness of herself and the world around her.


message 16: by tia (new) - added it

tia | 51 comments All of this begs the question... is Joana Clarice? Is Clarice Joana? Is Joana Angela (A Breath of Life)??


message 17: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
pigeon wrote: "All of this begs the question... is Joana Clarice? Is Clarice Joana? Is Joana Angela (A Breath of Life)??"

Joana is a fictional character.


message 18: by tia (new) - added it

tia | 51 comments Thanks for the nose thumping, Jim, but I was being ironic. That being said, I do think there is a correlation between Clarice the writer and Joanna and Angela, her fictional characters. I think she may have been describing her own experiences as an isolated intelligent woman. After reading several of her novels, it's hard not to picture Clarice the writer wandering along the same murmuring coast as her fictional characters.


message 19: by Jim (last edited Feb 12, 2015 12:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
pigeon wrote: "Thanks for the nose thumping, Jim, but I was being ironic. That being said, I do think there is a correlation between Clarice the writer and Joanna and Angela, her fictional characters. I think sh..."

I think what you say is possibly true, especially after reading Agua Viva, but in this discussion, we need to restrict ourselves to Near to the Wild Heart. It was written by a different Clarice than the one who wrote the other books. She was a beginner and an unknown writer. NttWH was instantly embraced and celebrated, pushing her into an unexpected spotlight, and certainly her experiences as a writer after those events can and does show up in the later books.

So I would say that Joana is no more or less a reflection of Clarice than any other debut novel, just as Joyce's character Stephen Dedelus from 'A Portrait...' was a reflection of James' life.

Also, sorry about the perceived nose-thump!


Filipe Russo (russo) | 94 comments Jim wrote: "Sarah wrote: "I'm a third of the way through & really enjoying Lispector's writing. I find the protagonist, Joana, to be very compelling and I'm interested to see where her journey through life wil..."

No, no, no. This is a classic mistake, Lispector had never read Joyce's work by the time she had written Near to the Wild Heart. Her editor didn't like the original title and being somewhat naive and unexperienced, she accepted the title suggestion. Although throughout her letters, even several years later, she's always insecure about her titles, something she talks with her close friends.
Her most important book read by that time, as she states in an interview not far from her death is Der Steppenwolf by German-Swiss author Hermann Hesse.


Jenny (jennyil) | 54 comments I have finally read this book. It is very interesting and well written particularly for a 22 year old. I have been mentally comparing he writing to Virginia Woolf's. Lisp torn does not have Woolf's talent for description but she does convey feelings and relationships well.


message 22: by tia (new) - added it

tia | 51 comments Well then.


back to top