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This article is taken from PN Review 52, Volume 13 Number 2, November - December 1986.

Clarice Lispector Clare Hanson

Clarice Lispector's work is little known in this country. A few translations of her work have appeared in English: the collection of stories Family Ties (translated by Giovanni Pontiero from Laços de Familia) was published by Carcanet in 1985, and in the same year Virago published The Apple in the Dark (A maçã no Escuro, translated by Gregory Rabassa); this spring Carcanet publish two more in translations by Giovanni Pontiero: The Hour of the Star (A Hora da Estrela) and a collection of short stories and 'chronicles', The Foreign Legion (A Legião Estrangeira). More translations of her fiction are available in France: La Passion selon G.H. (A Paixao segundo G.H.) and Agua Viva were published by Editions des Femmes in 1978 and 1979.

Lispector was born in the Ukraine in 1925. Her birth seems to presage (or 'half-create') that particular sense of the random, contingent and unstable nature of reality which haunts her work. Her birth-place was an accident in the sense that her parents, Russian Jews, were then in the process of emigrating to Brazil, and paused at Techtchelnik just long enough for their second daughter to be born. At the age of two months Lispector arrived in Brazil, where she grew up first in Recife then in Rio de Janeiro. In Rio she wrote her first novel, completed her law studies and married a fellow student. Her husband entered the diplomatic service and was posted abroad, so that Lispector spent long periods of her life ...

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