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

Monday, September 21, 2015

"The Solution" by Clarice Lispector (1964)

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

With the publication of this collection, it is as if a star has exploded in the short story world.  Many will see the reading of her stories as among the greatest of their lifetime reading experiences.  Some will not feel her power.  Benjamin Moser says her work is "witchcraft, not literature".  

I think soon her stories will be heavily analyzed by post-colonial scholars, feminist readers, South American studies, and those who follow the lead of Moser and see her as in the tradition of Jewish writers.  Historians of race and social class in Brazil will find her works a gold mind.  I also strongly urge the reading of Benjamin Moser's biography.  Her works will be studied as if they are texts in an ancient religion, ones for a dark time like those we may now be entering.  I know those who have not yet entered her world or even heard of her will find my words hyperbolic.  On the other side, there will be found those who will say I am holding back, not articulating her full power.  

My Prior Posts on Clarice Lispector 

"The Solution" is a brief very powerful story with a shocking close.  It centers on two young female office workers.   One is heavy and sensitive about this.  She seems to have a crush on one of her coworkers.  They take lunchs together and the heavy girl is always very solicitous of the feelings of her friend, who does not reciprocate.  One day the slender woman is late for work and when she arrives all can see she is very distraught and has been crying.  Her friend is very worried and offers to treat her to lunch.  

At lunch the coworker blurts out that her boyfriend has left, moved away.  She calls her friend "fatso" and asks her if she is happy over this news.  The other woman takes a fork and stabs her in the neck. We next meet her in prison where she at last has people around her that care about her.

A very moving story about loneliness, body images and the destructive power of words spoken in anger.

Mel u

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