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

Friday, April 3, 2015

"Interrupted Story" by Clarice Lespector. (1942, from The Complete Short Stories of Clarice Lispector, translated by Katrina Dodson, forthcoming August 2015)

"“Clarinha said he killed himself! He shot himself in the head …Is it true, is it? It’s a lie, isn’t it?” And suddenly the story splintered. It didn’t even have a smooth ending. It concluded with the abruptness and lack of logic of a smack in the face. I’m married and I have a son. I didn’t name him after W …And I don’t tend to look back: I still bear in mind the punishment God gave Lot’s wife. And I only wrote “this” to see whether I could find an answer to the questions that torture me, every once in a while, disturbing my peace: did the passage of W … through the world have any meaning? did my pain have any meaning?"

Even in the opening stages of my initial read through of the shirt stories of Clarice Lispector, I sense a very dark vision.  I am reading the stories in compositional order as detailed in the edition of her stories forthcoming.  A  defect of this collection, to me at least, is the lack of first published information.  I know the editor and translators have easy access to this information but I wish they would have included it. (I do have an ARC so maybe it will be in the final edition)

Three of the  four stories I have so far read and posted upon have focused on the narrator's reflection on her failed sometimes not fully  begun relationships with a man, often her first love.  All the relationships are obsessed over and in retrospect viewed as doomed from the start.  It as if with the failure of this first love the narrator accepts life will go on but abandons a search for meaning.   This pattern is repeated with a terribly harsh close in "Life Interuupted".  As I read Lispector, I already wonder  if she mourns for the lost men or rails at her own loss and then just shrugs her shoulders and smokes a cigarette.  

I will follow Lispector as she develops as a writer.  I hope the Anglophone short story world receives her work well.  I think the August 2015 scheduled publication of her collected short stories may be a big events in the short story world in 2015 and certainly in the short story in translation.

 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 webpage

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