There is an undeniable force in the way that Clarice Lispector’s words dance on the boundaries of language. Slowly reading the Crônicas, as translated by Giovanni Pontiero in Discovering the World, an encounter that softens, in part, the intensity of that force, without providing any guidance through the labyrinth. This settled my resolve to immerse myself in the works of Clarice throughout the summer, exploring and revisiting the invaluable English translations available.
This week, interspersed with the chronicles, was for Elizabeth Lowe’s and Earl Fitz’s translation, The Stream of Life, originally published as Agua Viva. A third reading with no less wonder at how Clarice depicts subjectivity to establish a unique intimacy. Can any other writer convey such a profound sense of directly accessing the intricacies of another consciousness, with all the inherent opaqueness that would entail? Clarice offers no overt clues, no keys to unlock the mystery of language. Instead she presents doors that go deeper into the ineffable nature of existence.
Some promising additions to my library this week: Jeremy Cooper’s Brian, Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis, The Geoffrey Hartman Reader, Kobe Abé’s The Ark Sakura and a new Penguin Editions collection of Clarice Lispector’s stories, The Imitation of the Rose.