Prepare to be recognized on a different level than ever before. Clarice Lispector peers at the world, at us, from a similar orbit to Mavis Gallant — nothing escapes her gaze — but from a different planet, and possibly a different dimension. Nothing here is ordinary: an egg, a family asleep in a tidy home, a typist weary of her circumscribed typist life — each transforms under Lispector's touch into the shimmeringly surreal or delightfully absurd. Each story is a brilliant explosion.
Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) is considered the greatest Brazilian writer of the twentieth century, and has also been called the most important Jewish writer since Franz Kafka. She was born in Western Ukraine and moved with her family to Brazil as an infant. Lispector started writing fiction and journalism in law school, and published her first novel, Near to the Wild Heart, an instant sensation, at 23. She went on to publish several story collections and novels, and many, like this one, are now lovingly presented to English-language readers by the formidable New Directions — and their reception has been ecstatic:
"Clarice Lispector had a diamond-hard intelligence, a visionary instinct, and a sense of humor that veered from naïf wonder to wicked comedy." —Rachel Kushner
"Lispector reads with lively intelligence and is terrifically funny. Language, for her, was the self's light." —Lorrie Moore
"Through these 85 stories, these mini invasions, it's apparent that yes, Clarice Lispector was indeed a singular artist. Decades after her death, she continues to champion the possibilities of language, and its ability to mesmerize." —Juan Vidal, NPR
"The Complete Stories is a dangerous book to read quickly or casually because it's so consistently delirious. Sentence by sentence, page by page, Lispector is exhilaratingly, arrestingly strange." —Terrence Rafferty, New York Times Sunday Book Review
The Complete Stories was translated by Katrina Dodson, with contributions by Benjamin Moser.