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The Passion According to G.H.

Clarice Lispector

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  • New Directions
  • 2012
  • ISBN 9780811219686
  • 208 pages
  • Sofcover
  • 20.5 × 13.2 × 1.5 cm

Translated from the Portuguese by Idra Novey

Edited by Benjamin Moser

Introduction by Caetano Veloso
G.H., a well-to-do Rio sculptress, enters her maid’s room, sees a cockroach crawling out of the wardrobe, and, panicking, slams the door on it. The sight of the dying insect provokes a mystical crisis, at the height which comes one of the most famous and most genuinely shocking scenes in Latin American literature. Clarice Lispector wrote that of all her works this novel was the one that “best corresponded to her demands as a writer.”

Clarice Lispector (born Chaya Pinkhasivna Lispector; December 10, 1920 – December 9, 1977) was a Brazilian novelist and short story writer acclaimed internationally for her innovative novels and short stories. Born to a Jewish family in Podolia in Western Ukraine, as an infant she moved to Brazil with her family, amidst the disasters engulfing her native land following the First World War.

The family moved to Rio de Janeiro when she was in her teens. While in law school in Rio, she began publishing her first journalistic work and short stories, catapulting to fame at the age of 23 with the publication of her first novel, Near to the Wild Heart (Perto do Coração Selvagem), written as an interior monologue in a style and language that was considered revolutionary in Brazil.

She left Brazil in 1944, following her marriage to a Brazilian diplomat, and spent the next decade and a half in Europe and the United States. After returning to Rio de Janeiro in 1959, she began producing her most famous works, including the stories of Family Ties (Laços de Família), the great mystic novel The Passion According to G.H. (A Paixão Segundo G.H.), and what is arguably her masterpiece, Água Viva. Injured in an accident in 1966, she spent the last decade of her life in frequent pain, steadily writing and publishing novels and stories until her premature death in 1977. Since her death, Clarice Lispector has earned universal recognition as Brazil’s greatest modern writer.

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