"What matters is the magnetic love she inspires in those susceptible to her. For them, reading Clarice Lispector is one of the great emotional experiences of their lives. But her glamour is dangerous. “Be careful with Clarice,” a friend told a reader decades ago, using the single name by which she is universally known. “It’s not literature. It’s witchcraft." Benjamin Moser
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 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.
The Setting for "Forgiving God". Avendia Copacabana Rio de Jeniro
A while ago I was taking a stroll in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Domincan Republic. To my great amusement a large brown rat crossed my path. I thought it is good to be in a city where rats are right out in the open. I enjoyed the experience. In "Forgiving God" the narrator is taking a walk down one of the most beautiful streets in the world, Avenedia Copacabana in Rio de Jeniro. Having shared this experience with the narrator made this story all the more meaningful to me.
This is a very "philosophical story". The narrator is imaging she is the mother of God. She feels a deep oceanic pathesostuc bond with God. Then a rat runs in front of her and she sees him as God's attempt to throw her into despair. This launched her into questioning why God would find it necessary to do this to her.
"Not only do I not forget the blood inside but I allow and desire it, I am too much blood to forget blood, and for me the spiritual word has no meaning, and neither does the earthly word. There was no need to throw a rat in my bare naked face. Not right then. What could easily have been taken into account was the terror that has hounded me and made me delirious since childhood, rats have mocked me, in the past of the world rats have devoured me quickly and furiously. So that’s how it was?, with me roaming through the world not asking for a thing, not needing a thing, loving out of pure, innocent love, and God shows me his rat? God’s coarseness hurt and insulted me."
In this brief short story Lispector deals with some very deep issues. I read it four times.