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, May 17, 2015

"Monkeys" and "Journey to Petróplois" by Clarice Lispector (1964, two stories from Foreign Legion)

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

In 1944 Clarice Lispector left Brazil with her husband, a Brazlian diplomat.  She lived with him for the next fourteen years in Europe and The United States.  She returned to Braźil in 1959 when her marriage effectively ended.  Her best work is considered to have begun upon her return.

When I began to read the short stories of Lispector, eighty five in the forthcoming collection, it was my intention to read and post on all of them.  I will still read all of them but will only post on a portion of them.  It is just to time consuming to post on them all.  This is not a value judgement but  a question of blog management.  

Some of her stories are very set in Brazil, others could occur anywhere.  Rio de Janeiro, a city I know, plays an important part in the two short stories I will post on today, "Monkey's" and "A Trip to Petróplois".  

"Monkeys" can be read in a delightful three or so minutes.  Set in a Favella, hills side communities some would call slums in which the poor of Rio de Janeiro lived, it is the significance a pet monkey.  This is an interesting story in which monkeys can be seen as playing numerous symbolic roles.  It is about the fragile  nature of life, about how the poor try to find joy and a meditation on the nature of love.

"Journey to Petróplois" begins with an account of a very old woman with no home of her own whose family has all passed away.  She is taken care of by a family in Rio.  One day a son  in the family, in the company of his girl friend and two of sisters, are off to visit the home of his older brother in Petróplois.  He decides to take the old woman along and leave her there.  We see inside the mind of the very old woman as she passes in her mind from her past life when her husband lived to the trip she is on.  The ending is kind of sad made sadder by not somehow being as sad as it should be.

We are very much convinced of the depth of these stories.  Each one is worthy of extended discussion.  There are common elements in the story and later on we will go into them.

Mel u

Ambrosia Boussweau 

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