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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"One Day Less" - A Short Story by Clarice Lispector (1970?)

"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


"I doubt that death will come. Death? Could it be that the days so long will end? That’s how I daydream, calm, still. Could it be that death is a ruse? A trick of life? Is it persecution? And that’s how it is."  From "One Day Less"

"One Day Less" is one of Clarice's final stories (I do not call her by her first name out of a foolish familiarity but because that name is enough to invoke a universe for those of us under her spell.)   This is a very sad story.  In approaching her short stories, I think one should first read all eight five.  Lots of reviewers have said taken this way we meet our narrator first as a young girl in Recife and later Rio de Janeiro, then we see her married, then her final days.  I suspect Print reviewers who have said this have not read the full collection.

As "One Day Less" opens our unmarried thirty year old female narrator is pondering the boredom and emptiness of her life.  Her deceased parents left her enough money to get buy in the apartment in which she had lived all her life.  She thinks about what she would do if a man invited her out for a drink. She seems much older than thirty.  Her self esteem has been badly hurt by her weight gain.

Her maid, the same one that has worked for her parents and then her for thirty years is off for a month.  She has to cook her own food.  Boredom hangs heavy in this story.  She received a distraction from a wrong number call from a woman who ends up inviting her over to play bridge.

The ending is very sad.  There is much to thing about in this story.

Please share your experience with Clarice with us

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