Near to the Wild Heart (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Near to the Wild Heart (Penguin Modern Classics)

Near to the Wild Heart (Penguin Modern Classics)

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I’ve tried to be fair and honest here as I don’t think this book (and possibly Lispector in general) will be to everyone’s taste. Non c'è regola apparente nei trapassi… Più del flusso di coscienza, allora, conta il trascorrere, di quella coscienza, da un individuo all'altro, tanto più vicina alla sua natura selvaggia quanto più indifferenziata, molteplice come i colori ma unica come la luce che li genera. Clarice Lispector’s sensational, prize-winning debut novel Near to the Wild Heart was published when she was just twenty-three and earned her the name ‘Hurricane Clarice’. Even with her eyes closed she felt that on the beach the waves were sucked back by the sea quickly quickly, also with closed eyelids. For almost a year after publication, articles about the book appeared continuously in every major city in Brazil.

In the best stories, something deeply strange is fully visualized by Lispector, as though it had come in a waking dream and it needed to be given urgent substance.Clarice Lispector's first novel, Near to the Wild Heart, was published in 1944, when its author was only nineteen years old. Barbosa read the originals chapter by chapter, but Clarice vividly rejected his occasional suggestions: “When I reread what I’ve written,” she told him, “I feel like I’m swallowing my own vomit. Several of her works have been turned into films, one being 'Hour of the Star' and she was the subject of a recent biography, Why This World, by Benjamin Moser. For a woman who is used to having complete freedom, being forced to share it, to give it up, is a painful experience, and once she realises her loss of power, it’s only a matter of time before her thoughts, as always, turn into actions. It also asks you put it down and take a breath—it is not a book to absorb in one sitting ( Hour of the Star, on the contrary, lends itself to a continuous, one-sitting read).

God will receive my humility and will say: I was able to give birth to a world and I don’t know a thing. You could breeze through it, you could let it marinate, or you could reread it twice in one sitting. As I devoured the chapters the author was typing, it slowly dawned on me that this was an extraordinary literary revelation,” Barbosa said.She is frequently compared to animals: over the course of the book Lispector compares her to a bird, a snake, a wildcat, a horse, and a dog. However, as she learns more about life, she also senses that other women, the dumb, cow-like figures she meets, have something she’ll never have. Her images dazzle even when her meaning is most obscure, and when she is writing of what she despises she is lucidity itself. She contemplates leaving Octavio and when she discovers that he is having an affair with his ex-fiancé, Joana is handed the perfect reason to break off the marriage.

She left Brazil in 1944, following her marriage to a Brazilian diplomat, and spent the next decade and a half in Europe and the United States. I have never read her yet, I’ve always had the impression they’d be over my head intellectually, although you do make this one sound rather accessible, at least until the end! It was autumn, the leaves in the square were falling, and the grayness of the day helped underscore the beauty and luminosity of Clarice Lispector.

The bio I am working my way through mentions that Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf was a big influence and a philosopher whose name currently escapes me but I want to say Schopenhauer. My only previous experience of reading Lispector was Agua Viva, which was short but very difficult to follow, but her reputation is such that I felt I should try again, and her first book seemed a good place to start. Well, I would be very curious to hear your thoughts on this book (and Lispector in general) if you decide to go for it.

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