Posted 20 hours ago

Near to the Wild Heart (Penguin Modern Classics)

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As Joana, endlessly mutable, moves through different emotional states, this impressionistic, dreamlike and fiercely intelligent novel asks if any of us ever really know who we are. So these thoughts on Near to the Wild Heart are all half-formed and written haphazardly – the book is affecting, curious, frustrating, beautiful, both luminous and incisive, but also incomprehensible and inscrutable.

I have another Lispector, The Hour of the Star, but I might leave it for a few months just to put a bit of space between the two. This is my first Lispector book, but I already know I will be intimately familiar with all of her writing. Neuware - 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'. This one is also quite a difficult read - the translation reflects the unusual linguistic style of the original, it is poetic and largely about emotions rather than actions (there is a plot of sorts, as it follows episodes in the life of Juana from early childhood through to the decision to leave her unfaithful husband Otávio).From an early stage in the narrative, it is clear that Joana is isolated in her marriage to Otávio (perhaps even isolated from life in general). 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).

The book, particularly its revolutionary language, brought its young, unknown creator to great prominence in Brazilian letters and earned her the prestigious Graça Aranha Prize. Something about it feeling less “fixed” than her later works – missing certain narrative handholds for the reader to grip onto amidst the free-flowing interior monologue and curious imagery. It becomes an impossible task, because she remains in a constant state of self-evaluation and self-actualization. Injured in an accident in 1966, she spent the last decade of her life in frequent pain, steadily writing and publishing novels and stories until her premature death in 1977.

Between the two pieces, looking at them (the one she had already slept and the one she had yet to sleep), isolated in the timeless and the spaceless, an empty gap.

Well, I would be very curious to hear your thoughts on this book (and Lispector in general) if you decide to go for it. Immateriale, attraversava gli avvenimenti e le ore, scivolandovi in mezzo con la leggerezza di un istante”, diventa una gabbia e “i minuti che erano soltanto suoi lei li sentiva elargiti, spezzati in piccoli cubi di ghiaccio che doveva ingoiare in fretta, prima che si sciogliessero”. The sensational, prize-winning debut novel Near to the Wild Heart was published when author Clarice Lispector was just twenty-three and earned her the name ‘Hurricane Clarice’.I hear it, the fall…I wait for myself, I wait for myself to slowly rise up and truly appear before my eyes.

Intriguing review – I have a Lispector on my shelf (not this one) that I’ve picked up and put down again several times because it wasn’t the right time for something challenging.

What else was that feeling of contained force, ready to burst forth in violence, that longing to apply it with her eyes closed, all of it, with the rash confidence of a wild beast? She was born in the Ukraine in 1920, but in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Civil War, the family fled to Romania and eventually Brazil.

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