"Dear sirs, now of all times, when I had so much to say, I don’t know how to express myself. I’m a solemn and serious woman, dear sirs. I have a daughter, dear sirs. I could be a good poet. I could have anyone I wanted. I know how to play every role, dear sirs. I could get up now and give a speech against humanity, against life. Asking the government to create a department of abandoned and sad women, who will never again have something to do in the world. Asking for some urgent reform. But I can’t, dear sirs. And that’s the reason there will never be any reforms. Because, instead of shouting, complaining, all I feel like is crying very softly and staying still, silent."
"Extract" centers on a woman waiting in a cafe for a man, one who left her but now says he will meet her in the cafe. We have seen such a figure in some of Lispector's other stories. A crucial element in the stories of Lispector, not found in other stories about women waiting for men, is the reflections of the woman on her existential situation. You can see in the quote above that she is very perceptive, she knows she has given the man too much power in her life.
In her stories you feel the beauty of Rio de Janeiro, the wet warmth of the ocean. (Often I drift back to the occasions I was there during dark moments.). Maybe as I progress through her 86 stories we can see the differences between hanging out in a cafe in Rio or Recife versus Paris or London.
Clarice Lispector (1920–1977) was Brazilian journalist, translator and author of fiction. Born in Western Ukraine into a Jewish family who suffered greatly during the pogroms of the Russian Civil War, she was still an infant when her family fled the disastrous post-World War I situation for Rio de Janiero. At twenty-three, she became famous for her novel, Near to the Wild Heart, and married a Brazilian diplomat. She spent much of the forties and fifties in Europe and the United States, helping soldiers in a military hospital in Naples during World War II and writing, before leaving her husband and returning to Rio in 1959. Back home, she completed several novels including The Passion According to G.H. and The Hour of the Star before her death in 1977 from ovarian cancer. - from New Directions Publishing web