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Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Hour of the Star (1977) by Clarice Lispector

Book Review
The Hour of the Star (1977)
 by Clarice Lispector

   Clarice Lispector is the only female Latin American representative on the 1001 Books list up to this point.   The fact that she was Brazilian and Jewish tells you all you need to know about the state of women writers in Latin American countries.  Lispector is firmly within the tradition of 20th century experimental fiction.  She was famously difficult to read in her native Portugese, and the translator includes an afterword to explain that the weirdness in Lispector's English translation accurately reflects original weirdness in her prose.

  The Hour of the Star was Lispector's last book published during her life.  It is also on the more traditional side of her narrative range, about a woman from rural Brazil trying to make her way in the big city, told by a semi-omniscient narrator who sometimes seems to become the author (Lispector) mid-paragraph.  The depiction of an uneducated woman as a central narrative focus is itself unusual.  Even the characters written by other non-white non-male authors tend to be male, educated or both.

  Like many of the other titles from the mid to late 20th century, The Hour of the Star is hardly even a novella- 69 pages in the New Directions paperback.  With a list price of 12.95 USD!    Thirteen dollars for a seventy page book.   That's just nuts.

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