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The Hour of the Starby Clarice Lispector
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Lispector, a Jewish, Ukraine-born Brazilian author and journalist, is much-beloved throughout the world, but is sadly under-read in the United States. Her last (and most popular) work, The Hour of the Star, was originally published mere months before her death in 1977. Lispector's novel offers the story of Macabéa, a poor, unattractive, and malnourished — yet curious (if not a little naïve) — Rio-based typist, as well as that of the book's narrator, Rodrigo S.M., and his mounting hardships in conveying the tale of young Macabéa. Exquisite and singular, the often-woeful novel is magnificent as much for its story as for the uncommon approach by which it's told. Lispector's gifted prose frequently shimmers with an innocent beauty, and so many of her passages nearly radiate from the page. Lispector may well be one of the most brilliant writers you haven't yet had the honor of reading.
Synopses & Reviews
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-Colas, and her rat of a boyfriend; she would like to be like Marilyn Monroe, but she is ugly, underfed, sickly and unloved. Rodrigo recoils from her wretchedness, and yet he cannot avoid the realization that for all her outward misery, Macabéa is inwardly free. She doesn't seem to know how unhappy she should be. Lispector employs her pathetic heroine against her urbane, empty narrator — edge of despair to edge of despair — and, working them like a pair of scissors, she cuts away the reader's preconceived notions about poverty, identity, love and the art of fiction. In her last book she takes readers close to the true mystery of life and leave us deep in Lispector territory indeed.
"If she does — dare I say it? — touch you, she touches you like nothing else you've ever read." Benjamin Mosher
"An artist of vivid imagination. If her work is thoughtful and poetic, distinguished by touching insight and human sympathy, it is also full of irony and wild humor." Vanity Fair
"A genius of character and a literary magician. Lispector is the premier Latin American woman prose writer of this century.In less than one hundred pages, Clarice Lispector tells a brilliantly multi-faceted and searing story." Jesse Larsen
"A truly remarkable writer." Saturday Review
"A new translation of Clarice Lispector's searing last novel, The Hour of the Star by Lispector biographer Benjamin Moser — with an introduction by Colm Tóibín — reveals the mesmerizing force of the revitalized modernist's Rio-set tale of a young naïf, who, along with the piquantly intrusive narrator, challenges the reader's notions of identity, storytelling, and love." Vogue.com
"The only antidote to stupidity is an agitated intelligence constantly prowling for blank spots in one's outward seeming. The Hour of the Star is a romance, then, between stupidity and its neurotic observer, a restless stretching away from form, tradition, and the stupefying rules they impose on writing." Saturday Review
"Lispector is the premier Latin American woman prose writer of this century." The New York Times
A new edition of Clarice Lispector's final masterpiece, now with a vivid introduction by Colm Tóibín.
About the Author
Clarice Lispector (1925-1977) has come to be considered the most important woman writer in contemporary Brazilian letters. The author of seven novels and short-story collections as well as children's books, her translated work — into Czech, Spanish, French, German and English — has gained her a strong international reputation.
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