Filed under: literaturePosted: June / 21 / 2010

why this world

I’m reading a new biography of Clarice Lispector. I love Clarice, and her biography has long been somewhat shrouded in mystery. That was largely her doing; she would lie about her age and ethnicity and all kinds of things in interviews.
That said, I’m having mixed feelings about this biography. He gives a lot of historical context, which is actually quite nice, but goes about it in an odd way; he’ll write about events in Clarice’s life, then spend a chapter on the Brazilian politics of that period in which he doesn’t even mention Clarice. Sometimes it feels like he’s alternating chapters between two books; one on Clarice, one on 20th century Brazil. He also quotes Clarice a lot, which is great. Sadly, his prose doesn’t stand up well next to hers. That’s not really a criticism of his writing; few writers can stand up next to her, in my mind.
All in all, I’m enjoying the book, but it makes me wish I were reading Clarice instead.


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