The Hour of the Star

The Hour of the Star

3.8 6
by Clarice Lispector
     
 

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A new edition of Clarice Lispector’s final masterpiece, now with a vivid introduction by Colm Tóibín.
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,

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Overview

A new edition of Clarice Lispector’s final masterpiece, now with a vivid introduction by Colm Tóibín.
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.

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Editorial Reviews

Katherine Boo
“I felt physically jolted by genius.”
Vogue.com
“A new translation of Clarice Lispector’s searing last novel, The Hour of the Star by Lispector biographer Benjamin Moser—with an introduction by Colm Tóibín—reveals the mesmerizing force of the revitalized modernist’s Rio-set tale of a young naif, who, along with the piquantly intrusive narrator, challenges the reader’s notions of identity, storytelling, and love.”
Saturday Review
“An artist of vivid imagination. If her work is thoughtful and poetic, distinguished by touching insight and human sympathy, it is also full of irony and wild humor.”
The New Inquiry
“The only antidote to stupidity is an agitated intelligence constantly prowling for blank spots in one’s outward seeming. The Hour of the Star is a romance, then, between stupidity and its neurotic observer, a restless stretching away from form, tradition, and the stupefying rules they impose on writing.”
The New York Times
“Lispector is the premier Latin American woman prose writer of this century.”
Benjamin Mosher - Vanity Fair
“If she does — dare I say it? — touch you, she touches you like nothing else you’ve ever read.”
Jesse Larsen - 500 Great Books by Women
“In less than one hundred pages, Clarice Lispector tells a brilliantly multi-faceted and searing story.”
The Faster Times
“This text investigates the knowledge of not knowing and the rich poverty of the inner void with stratagems of obfuscation, leaps of language, and suspensions of syntax and form that are perhaps best received by the gut.”
The Brooklyn Rail
“The reader finds herself in the throes of a master, rendered speechless with awe and terror.”
Barnes and Noble Review
“This is without a doubt one of the most audacious and affecting works of fiction I've ever read.”
Jeff Brewer - Critical Mob
“In this slim novella, Lispector uses an intricate narrative structure in order to represent a peculiar state of mind. Rodrigo, a well-off and cultured man, struggles to tell the story of the sad life of Macabéa, an unhygienic, sickly, unlovable, and an altogether "un-ideal" typist living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Although Rodrigo claims he's the only person who could love Macabéa—if only because she's the subject of his narrative—he really tells her story as a way to thwart his own isolation. Lispector employs odd sentence fragments and erratic grammatical choices to highlight the importance of imagination as a means for her characters to liberate themselves from their banal existences. Through Rodrigo's narrative, Lispector artfully ponders the fate of her characters, and their fears and desires, in a harsh and unforgiving cityscape. Startlingly original and profoundly sad,The Hour of the Staris a provocative work by a highly influential author who should be more widely read.”
Charles Larson - Counter Punch
“The Hour of the Startrips up our concept of the novel. What a story is expected to do. How characters act. Why writers write. Why readers read. It’s an experience you won’t forget.”
Jonathan Franzen
“A truly remarkable writer.”
Vanity Fair
If she does — dare I say it? — touch you, she touches you like nothing else you’ve ever read.— Benjamin Mosher
500 Great Books by Women
In less than one hundred pages, Clarice Lispector tells a brilliantly multi-faceted and searing story.— Jesse Larsen
Critical Mob
In this slim novella, Lispector uses an intricate narrative structure in order to represent a peculiar state of mind. Rodrigo, a well-off and cultured man, struggles to tell the story of the sad life of Macabéa, an unhygienic, sickly, unlovable, and an altogether "un-ideal" typist living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Although Rodrigo claims he's the only person who could love Macabéa—if only because she's the subject of his narrative—he really tells her story as a way to thwart his own isolation. Lispector employs odd sentence fragments and erratic grammatical choices to highlight the importance of imagination as a means for her characters to liberate themselves from their banal existences. Through Rodrigo's narrative, Lispector artfully ponders the fate of her characters, and their fears and desires, in a harsh and unforgiving cityscape. Startlingly original and profoundly sad, The Hour of the Star is a provocative work by a highly influential author who should be more widely read.— Jeff Brewer
Counter Punch
The Hour of the Star trips up our concept of the novel. What a story is expected to do. How characters act. Why writers write. Why readers read. It’s an experience you won’t forget.— Charles Larson
Library Journal
★ 10/01/2014
The great author's last and arguably finest novel portrays an unskilled country girl trying to make a living in the big city, only to have her life ironically snuffed out.
Vogue
Macabea is one of the great antiheroines of modern fiction...the literary discovery of the decade.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811219495
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
11/09/2011
Edition description:
Second Edition
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
90,291
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)

What People are saying about this

Katherine Boo
I felt physically jolted by genius.
Jonathan Franzen
A truly remarkable writer.

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.

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.

Colm Tóibín is the author of many novels, including The Master, which portrays Henry James’s friendship with Woolson.

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The Hour of the Star 3.8 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is literally insane and well written. The book is a captivating story about a woman who has no point to life. The description of her ovaries 'like overcooked mushrooms' tell us this. The book is so random and will keep throwing surprises at you. I read the book with in a day. The book has like twelve possible titles when you open it. You cannot help, but adapt her style of writing.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters in the book were difficult to follow. There may have been reason for this but I found it confusing. I suspect that the translation may have contributed to my confusion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great look at someone at the bottom of the barrel from the perspective of someone at the top. I love the fact that Lispector is a woman and writes as a man telling the story of another woman. Very interesting stylistic choice. Very boring beginning but push through because it's the setup for the rest of the book. Great brief read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Clarice Lispector's 'Hour of the Star' is a charming tale about a young girl who floats through life without a clear sense of purpose. Macabea, the protagonist, is ignorant rather than stupid. Growing up in a world of poverty and social destitution has left her with not a friend in the world and not a clue how to adapt to the realities of a society that demands conformity. So why would anyone want to read a story about a tragic girl whom nobody loves? You'll have to read 'Hour of the Star' yourself and find your own meaning. Lispector has a great talent for bestowing great significance to mundane and ordinary things. Although it's a bit random and vague at times, I enjoyed the book's philosophical ramblings and its tragic anti-heroine.