Reading the World Book Club

Monthly book club discussion on translated books. This month: The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector, translated by Benjamin Moser

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Narrated by the cosmopolitan Rodrigo S.M., this brief, strange, and haunting tale is the story of Macabéa, one of life's unfortunates. Living in the slums of Rio and eking out a poor living as a typist, Macabéa loves movies, Coca-Colas, and her rat of a boyfriend; she would like to be like Marilyn Monroe, but she is ugly, underfed, sickly and unloved. Rodrigo recoils from her wretchedness, and yet he cannot avoid the realization that for all her outward misery, Macabéa is inwardly free/She doesn't seem to know how unhappy she should be. Lispector employs her pathetic heroine against her urbane, empty narrator—edge of despair to edge of despair—and, working them like a pair of scissors, she cuts away the reader's preconceived notions about poverty, identity, love and the art of fiction. In her last book she takes readers close to the true mystery of life and leave us deep in Lispector territory indeed.

Clarice Lispector (1920-1977), the greatest Brazilian writer of the twentieth century, has been called "astounding" (Rachel Kushner), "a penetrating genius" (Donna Seaman, Booklist), and "a truly remarkable writer" (Jonathan Franzen). "Her images dazzle even when her meaning is most obscure," noted the Times Literary Supplement, "and when she is writing of what she despises, she is lucidity itself."

Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle award. At New Directions, he edits the new translation of Clarice Lispector's work, of which The Besieged City is the eighth volume. For promoting her work around the world, the Brazilian government awarded him the first State Prize in Cultural Diplomacy. A former books columnist at Harper's Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, his latest book, Sontag: Her Life and Work, is published by Ecco Press.

Event date: 
Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
The Hour of the Star Cover Image
By Clarice Lispector, Benjamin Moser (Translator), Colm Toibin (Introduction by)
$12.95
ISBN: 9780811219495
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - November 9th, 2011