The Hour of the Star

The Hour of the Star

Paperback

Translated by Giovanni Pontiero

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  • Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 96 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 10mm | 141g
  • Publication date: 14 February 1992
  • Publication City/Country: Manchester
  • ISBN 10: 0856359890
  • ISBN 13: 9780856359897
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Sales rank: 211,575

Product description

Clarice Lispector died of cancer at the age of fifty-six on 9th December 1977. "The Hour of the Star" was published that same year and acclaimed by the critics as 'a regional allegory' of extraordinary awareness and insight. Lispector herself defined "The Hour of the Star" as a book 'made without words...a mute photograph...a silence...a question'. The tale of Macabea can be read at different levels and lends itself to various interpretations. The book's subtle interplay of fiction and philosophy sums up Lispector's unique talent as a writer and her lasting influence on contemporary Brazilian writing.

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Author information

Clarice Lispector was born in the Ukraine in 1925, and was brought up in Receife, Brazil and then Rio de Janeiro. After graduating from the Faculty of Law she married and then published her first novel, Near to the Wild Heart. Her husband's diplomatic career took them to Europe and to the United States. Lispector's gifts as a Portuguese language writer were early recognised in The Hour of the Star, Family Ties (stories), The Foreign Legion (miscellany) and her journalistic essays Discovering the World. She died of cancer in 1977.

Review quote

'Macabea is one of the great antiheroines of modern fiction... the literary discovery of the decade.' - Vogue'Clarice Lispector is a Brazilian writer, and for me she is thegreatest writer of the twentieth century. I rank her with Kafka...her work will become a model of "feminine writing".' - Helene Cixous'Her recurring theme is the fragility of peace and order, and the swarming of temptations in unlikely places. She would have understood (and perhaps did) Brecht's phrase about the terrible temptation of goodness'. - Arthur Marwick, London Review of Books

Editorial reviews

From the late Brazilian novelist/short-story writer Lispector, the short, unhappy life of a Rio slum girl whose existence is "duller than plain bread and butter." Lyrical, funny, finally quite sad. The mysterious narrator, possibly Lispector's alter ego, is Rodrigo S.M., a man of apparent wealth and leisure, who is telling the story - in a roundabout way, with many pauses and sighing asides - of Macabea, an ugly, sickly girl from a poverty-stricken northeastern province who makes her way to Rio de Janeiro, finds marginal work as a typist with a company that distributes pulley equipment, and shares a squalid room in the red-light district with four other girls. She barely knows she exists: "I am a typist and a virgin, and I like Coca-Cola," she tells herself firmly, but soon she's adrift without an anchor of identity in a world that is utterly beyond her comprehension. She meets a shallow young man named Olympico de Jesus, but drives him crazy with her non sequiturs ("I love nuts and bolts. How about you?"), and he finally leaves her for Gloria, a femme fatale who works in her office. Trying to do something positive, Macabea goes to a callous quack of a doctor for a physical - the man tells her she's in the early stages of pulmonary tuberculosis, and prescribes "Italian spaghetti" to counter her weight loss before kicking her out of his office. Searching for one last glimmer of hope, Macabea borrows money and goes to see an ex-prostitute fortune-teller named Madame Carlota, who assures her: "Your life is about to change completely. . . You are about to come in for a great fortune that a foreign gentleman will bring to you in the night." Leaving the old charlatan's house, Macabea is struck down and killed by a yellow Mercedes. This is Lispector's last novel (first published in Brazil in the year of her death, 1977) and, all in all, a painful but lovely testimony to her superb talents. (Kirkus Reviews)