The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector: Review

The Passion According to G.H.The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m late to this, but –

Clarice Lispector is the most interesting, probably the best, writer I’ve discovered in the last five years. When I read Agua Viva, I was really startled. She was writing a distillation of something. I wasn’t sure what. After finishing The Passion According to G.H., I’m a little clearer. Mainly I know, I need to read her other books, and get a sense of them in relation to one another. The re-read them.

The Passion According to G.H. is a very strange novel. A woman enters a room, encounters a thing, doesn’t even leave the room. That would be a plot summary.

A woman experiences vastation. That would be a more existential summary.

Both Agua Viva and The Passion According to G.H. are about moment-to-moment experience. They are chasing the reality of the now, and finding what a weird temporality that is – and how it opens up into so much vaster speculations.

The closest thing I can compare to Lispector’s writing, having not ready any interviews with her or commentary about her, is Kierkegaard. There is a similar surprise towards the end of every sentence. There is a logic, a progress, but it is unique. Only in retrospect does it seem inevitable. As you read, there is perpetual puzzlement. What is this?

The other writer I’d suggest as a comparison is D.H.Lawrence at his best. Along with a seriousness of intent is a sense of ridiculousness – of human ridiculousness. I can’t think of a much better combination of qualities, if a writer is going to head into the blank territory of vastation.

If you read Lispector’s books, you might come to see yourself being changed.

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