A Breath of Life

A Breath of Life

4.7 9
by Clarice Lispector
     
 

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A mystical dialogue between a male author and his creation, this posthumous work has never before been translated, and is a book of particular beauty and strangeness.A mystical dialogue between a male author (a thinly disguised Clarice Lispector) and his/her creation, a woman named Angela, this posthumous work has never before been translated. Lispector did not

Overview

A mystical dialogue between a male author and his creation, this posthumous work has never before been translated, and is a book of particular beauty and strangeness.A mystical dialogue between a male author (a thinly disguised Clarice Lispector) and his/her creation, a woman named Angela, this posthumous work has never before been translated. Lispector did not even live to see it published.At her death, a mountain of fragments remained to be “structured” by Olga Borelli. These fragments form a dialogue between a god-like author who infuses the breath of life into his creation: the speaking, breathing, dying creation herself, Angela Pralini. The work’s almost occult appeal arises from the perception that if Angela dies, Clarice will have to die as well. And she did.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

One in a series of four new translations, this is the first time this posthumous book from one of Brazil's most renowned writers has been translated into English. The novel is a lyrical and expertly rendered schizoid duet comprising the exchanges between the "Author" (a male approximation of Lispector) and Angela Pralini, a textual manifestation of his "dark" "interior dialogue" whom he loves yet simultaneously wants to destroy. Because the Author cannot clearly define Angela, or separate her from himself-much like Lispector (Água Viva) cannot separate herself from the Author-the novel does not progress in a traditional sense. Rather, the Author admits that "What this book is missing is a bang. A scandal-" something to put Angela on a trajectory other than that of her creator. As the two wrestle with the conditions of their relationship, they each offer transcendent insights into the writing process, the artifice of character creation, the morbid, and the absurd, as when the Author laments being "objectified" as a writer, and Angela asks entreatingly, "But does anyone hear me?" While the innovative nature of the work will likely appeal to fans of Beckett, Lispector's intoxicating prose makes this experimental dialogue special.
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SFGate
Both dazzling and difficult.
The Times Literary Supplement
“Her images dazzle even when her meaning is most obscure, and when she is writing of what she despises she is lucidity itself.”
The Coffin Factory
“Reading Lispector is an intellectual adventure... Serious writing is a dangerous business, and unlike any other author, Lispector is willing to embrace the danger and come out the other side of the void.”
Full Stop
“The raw, demanding pace and the dialogic form of A Breath of Life provoke an urgent meditation on life, self, and time. In fact, reading this novel may be a form of meditation.”
The L Magazine
“One of 20th-century Brazil’s most intriguing and mystifying writers.”
Orhan Pamuk
“One of the twentieth century’s most mysterious writers in all her vibrant colors.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Both dazzling and difficult.”
Benjamin Moser - San Francisco Chronicle
“I had a sort of missionary urge with her...but I started thinking, even when I was 19: How can I help this person reach the prominence she deserves?”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811219624
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
06/13/2012
Pages:
220
Sales rank:
590,494
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are saying about this

Orhan Pamuk
One of the twentieth century’s most mysterious writers in all her vibrant colors.

Meet the Author

Clarice Lispector was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in western Ukraine. As a result of the anti-Semitic violence they endured, the family fled to Brazil in 1922, and Clarice Lispector grew up in Recife. Following the death of her mother when Clarice was nine, she moved to Rio de Janeiro with her father and two sisters, and she went on to study law. With her husband, who worked for the foreign service, she lived in Italy, Switzerland, England, and the United States, until they separated and she returned to Rio in 1959; she died there in 1977. Since her death, Clarice Lispector has earned universal recognition as Brazil's greatest modern writer.

The son of Brazilian immigrants, Johnny Lorenz teaches at Montclair State University and received a Fulbright for his work in Brazilian literature.

Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award, and is also the editor of a new translation of​Clarice ​Lispector's work​, of which this is the sixth volume​. A former books columnist at Harper's Magazine, Moser is now a columnist at The New York Times Book Review, and is currently at work on​the​authorized biography of Susan Sontag. He lives in the Netherlands.

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A Breath of Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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