The Last Bookstore is pleased to present Clarice Lispector’s The Chandelier, her second novel translated into English for the first time.
“Told almost entirely in a third-person stream-of-consciousness style, the story follows Virginia, the youngest of three siblings growing up on Quiet Farm in Upper Marsh in a sparsely furnished family mansion with velvet-lined floors. […] Readers already acquainted with The Hour of the Star will note a number of parallels. In some ways, this is a bigger, larger-hearted version, more intimate and more generous” (Kirkus, starred review).
Joining us is writer and translator Magdalena Edwards, who will talk about the process of translating this book from Brazilian Portuguese into English and who will read from the novel. Special guests include poet and translator David Shook, who will offer introductory remarks, and the cultural critic and essayist Elaine Blair, who will lead a Q&A with the translator.
Fresh from the enormous success of her debut novel Near to the Wild Heart, Hurricane Clarice let loose something stormier with The Chandelier. In a body of work renowned for its potent idiosyncratic genius, The Chandelier in many ways has pride of place.“It stands out,” her biographer Benjamin Moser noted, “in a strange and difficult body of work, as perhaps her strangest and most difficult book.” Of glacial intensity, consisting almost entirely of interior monologues—interrupted by odd and jarring fragments of dialogue and action—the novel moves in slow waves that crest in moments of revelation. As Virginia seeks freedom via creation, the drama of her isolated life is almost entirely internal: from childhood, she sculpts clay figurines with “the best clay one could desire: white, supple, sticky, cold. She got a clear and tender material from which she could shape a world. How, how to explain the miracle …” While on one level simply the story of a woman’s life, The Chandelier’s real drama lies in Lispector’s attempt “to find the nucleus made of a single instant … the tenuous triumph and the defeat, perhaps nothing more than breathing.” The Chandelier pushes Lispector’s lifelong quest for that nucleus into deeper territories than any of her other amazing works. (New Directions)
Clarice Lispector was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in western Ukraine. As a result of the anti-Semitic violence they endured, the family fled to Brazil in 1922, and Clarice Lispector grew up in Recife. Following the death of her mother when Clarice was nine, she moved to Rio de Janeiro with her father and two sisters, and she went on to study law. With her husband, who worked for the foreign service, she lived in Italy, Switzerland, England, and the United States, until they separated and she returned to Rio in 1959; she died there in 1977. Since her death, Clarice Lispector has earned universal recognition as Brazil’s greatest modern writer. (New Directions)
Please note that our store has limited capacity (a mere 300!), so get here early.
Those wishing to get books signed will be asked to purchase a copy of the author’s title from The Last Bookstore. Any outside books must be checked with security upon entering the store. This policy applies to all Last Bookstore events unless otherwise noted. Save your receipt; it will be checked when you enter the signing line.