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The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
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The Hour of the Star (1977)

by Clarice Lispector

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1304010,848 (3.88)1 / 143
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Clarice Lispector is one of Brazil's iconic writers. Born in 1920 in the Ukraine, she moved at an early age with her family to Brazil. She was only the third women to go to law school in Brazil and the first Jew. This book is the last published before her death in 1977.

Lispector often uses nonconventional syntax and grammar. This can make it quite hard to translate; previous translators have often given in to the urge to 'clean' up her writing.

This is an unusually styled book. The first character is an unnamed male narrator who is writing the story of a young impoverished woman in Rio de Janero; a woman not only living in physical poverty, but in spiritual and emotional poverty. She ekes out a daily living, living almost anonymously in the huge city and so beset by each day that she cannot imagine a future.

The male narrator steps out of his character several times to chide himself that he must not become sentimental and 'write like a woman'. There's a bit of humor, a large measure of pathos and a story line that will stick with me. ( )
  streamsong | Jan 11, 2019 |
I have been obsessed with this book since I first encountered it in college. Part of it is that I relate so deeply with the digression that Lispector, in her narratorial voice as Rodrigo S.M., goes into about writing, the process of writing, the feeling of words and the frustrations of trying to write something true when one is writing fiction.

It's also a story that "feels like" a fairy tale or fable, though a rather dark and sad one. Or is it? Macabea's odd resilience and lack of resentment are so jarring against her circumstances that it's impossible to assign a tone to this. The translation is beautiful and the prose is equally jarring and graceful.

I don't know how I will continue to have so much to say about a book that is maybe 100 pages, but I'm sure I will for the rest of my life... ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 24, 2018 |
Such a curious little book with a somewhat disturbed narrator and a strange woman whose self worth is non-existent - the narrator loves her, but we never really find out who he is. Well worth a read, but do read other reviews first as this book is an aquired taste. ( )
  ReneePaule | Feb 8, 2018 |
This just didn't appeal to me in any way. ( )
  Lindoula | Sep 25, 2017 |
Poor Macabea, doesn't Know her way in this world, But who does? ( )
  Glaucialm | Feb 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lispector, Clariceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moser, BenjaminTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tóibín, ColmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Clarice stirs in the greater depths, where the world finds its true meaning, portraying mankind.
('Vision of Clarice Lispector')
Carlos Drummond de Andrade
Dedication
For Olga Borelli
First words
All the world began with a yes.
Quotations
Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?
To probe oneself is to recognize that one is incomplete.
Things were somehow so good that they were close to becoming very bad because what is fully mature is very close to rotting.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Macabea, a young woman from the backwoods, arrives in bewildering Rio. Homely, ignorant, without skills or experience, she lodges in a shabby tenement in a squalid red-light district. Her transient boyfriend, a strutting lout and sham, soon abandons her.
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Despite her ugliness, horrible boyfriend, and miserable job, Macab?a feels quite happy, until her boyfriend begins to pull her down with his own negativity.

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