C. Lispector; “Expect the Unexpected”

I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort. – The Hour of the Star

Clarice Lispector (December 10, 1920 – December 9, 1977) was a Brazilian writer. Acclaimed internationally for her innovative novels and short stories, she was also a journalist and a translator.

A legendary figure in Brazil, renowned for her uncommon and unique writing style, her great personal beauty —— the American translator Gregory Rabassa recalled being “flabbergasted to meet that rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf,” —— and her eccentric personality.

There it is, the sea, the most incomprehensible of non-human existences. –  An Apprenticeship, or The Book of Delights

Whether she won or lost, she would continue to wrestle with life. It would not be with her own life alone but with all of life. Something had finally been released within her. And there it was, the sea. – An Apprenticeship, or The Book of Delights

She grew up in northeastern Brazil, where her mother died when she was nine. The family moved to Rio de Janeiro when she was in her teens. While in law school in Rio, she began publishing her first journalistic work and short stories, catapulting to fame at age 23 with the publication of her first novel, Near to the Wild Heart (Perto do Coração Selvagem), written as an interior monologue in a style and language that was considered revolutionary in Brazil.

My life, the most truthful one, is unrecognizable, extremely interior, and there is no single word that gives it meaning. – The Hour of the Star

She has been the subject of numerous books, and references to her and her work are common in Brazilian literature and music. Several of her works have been turned into films and she was the subject of several studies and biographies, such as Clarice Lispector: esboço para um possível retrato, by Olga Borelli (1981), Clarice Lispector: a paixão segundo C.L., by Berta Walman (1983), L’heure de Clarice Lispector, by Hélène Cixous (1989), Clarice: uma vida que se conta, by Nádia Gotlib (1995), Eu sou uma pergunta: uma biografia de Clarice Lispector, by Teresa Montero (1999), and Why this world: a biography of Clarice Lispector, by Benjamin Moser (2009).


The fire I suffered a while back partially destroyed my right hand. My legs were marked forever. What happened was very sad and I prefer not to think about it. All I can say is that I spent three days in hell, where—so they say—bad people go after death. I don’t consider myself bad and I experienced it while still alive. – The Passion

I don’t know what to do with the horrifying freedom that can destroy me. – The Passion According to G.H.

She was insecure and asked a few people for their opinion. With other books Clarice didn’t show that insecurity. With Água viva she did. That was the only time I saw Clarice hesitate before handing in a book to the publisher. She herself said that- Olga Borelli

Who hasn’t asked oneself, am I a monster or is this W – The Hour of the Star


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