Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, April 26, 2015

"The Chicken" by Clarice Lispector (1952?)

The Complete Short Stories of Clarice Lipsector, to be published August, 2015, translated by Katrina Dodson, edited and introduced by Benjamin Moser)

"Alone in the world, without father or mother, she ran, panting, mute, focused. At times, mid-escape, she’d flutter breathlessly on the eave of a roof and while the young man was stumbling over other roofs she’d have time to gather herself for a moment. And then she seemed so free. Stupid, timid and free. Not victorious as an escaping rooster would have been. What was it in her guts that made her a being? The chicken is a being."

"The Chicken", a brief work one can read in under five minutes, is as close to a comic tale as I have yet come upon in my reading of the short stories of Clarice Lispector, if a story about a chicken that ends in a meaningless death can be considered comic.  I enjoyed the story and I think it might be a good class room discussion work.  If I were inclined to I could write a post on how it reflects existential philosophies of the 1950s views on the absurdity of life but I am not inclined for now. 

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

Ambrosia Boussweau 

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