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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

"The Man Who Showed Up" by Clarice Lispector. 1974. from The Complete Short Stories of Clarice Lipsector, published August, 2015, translated by Katrina Dodson, edited and introduced by Benjamin Moser)

"“You? all that matters to you is literature.” “Well you’re mistaken. Children, families, friends, come first.” He eyed me warily, somewhat askance. And asked: “You swear that literature doesn’t matter?” “I swear,” I answered with the assuredness that comes from inner truth. And added: “Any cat, any dog is worth more than literature.”  From "The Man Who Showed Up" by Clarice Lispector 

Clarice wrote all of the thirteen short stories in the 1974 collection, The Via Crucis of the Body, over the course of a single weekend. (My source for this and most all I know of the life and literary career of Clarice comes from the essential biography by Bernard Moser, Why this World:  A Biography of Clarice Lispector).  By this time she was more than thirty years into her literary career and did not care what the critics said of her work.   Some contemporary Brazilian critics called these stories "near pornogrsphy".  In one of them two women freely share the bed of one man then murder him and cut up his body to use to mulch their roses.  In a terrifying story I have posted upon, "Pig Latin" a woman avoids being raped on a Rio commuter train by acting as if she were a mentally deranged prostitute.  She knew the men wanted a virgin,  which she in fact was, thinking rightfully that would make them look for another woman The train conductor turned her into the police who kept her in jail for several days.  She learns a woman was raped and murdered on the train.  The story "Via Crucis" is about a recreation of the birth of Jesus in Rio.

"The Man Who Showed" up is an interesting story about what happens to a woman writer, who does have similarities to Clarice stops in at a bar close to her house one night when she was out doing a little shopping.  A man approaches her and tells her not to be afraid of him.  She says she is not and asks his name.  It turns out the man is a quite well known poet.  She invites him back to her place, gives him her address and leaves.  She lives with another woman who tells her the man is probably so gone into drink he won't show up as he will not be able to recall her address.  He does show up and they have a conversation revolving around the poet trying to hetbhervtomsomehow not see him as not the poet he once was.  The story has very real feel, the bars of Rio probably house many a former great poet.

Mel u

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