The Hour of the Star is one of the books I read thanks to the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die project. Clarice Lispector is also an author I met thanks to this reading adventure. Even if I have not read many books on this list, I know that excellent books are waiting for me. This tiny book by Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star, was a book I finished in one sitting and it impressed me a lot.
The Hour of the Star is Clarice Lispector’s last book, and people say that this is her best book. The narrator in this short book is the cosmopolitan Rodrigo S.M. And it tells the story of Macabea, one of the unluckiest people in life. Trying to live as a typist in Rio’s suburbs; Macabea loves films, Coca-Cola, and her awful boyfriend. But Macabea is an ugly, sickly and unpopular person.
Although the storyteller Rodrigo is afraid of Macabea’s wretchedness, he is unable to realize that she is free, despite all her misery. Macabea does not know how sad one can be. And, thank God, she does not know.
Clarice Lispector keeps a conversation in which you will not be able to open your mouth throughout the book. You can’t open your mouth because it shows you everything you don’t want to see, with all its nudity. And it makes you feel that you should feel guilty because you haven’t looked at it until now. You read the book as if your hands are tied. You will understand that this is a brilliant author and an intelligent woman we are talking about.
Some sentences will stay with you for a long time. In particular, the questions will bother you, revealing things you don’t want to face. The Hour of the Star is a huge, 90-pages long book. It is an essential read for all of us. Enjoy!
The Hour of the Star
Narrated by the cosmopolitan Rodrigo S.M., this brief, strange, and so haunting tale is the story of Macabéa, one of life’s unfortunates. Living in the slums of Rio and eking out a poor living as a typist, Macabéa loves movies, Coca-Colas, and her rat of a boyfriend; she would like to be like Marilyn Monroe, but she is ugly, underfed, sickly and unloved. Rodrigo recoils from her wretchedness, and yet he cannot avoid the realization that for all her outward misery,
Macabéa is inwardly free/She doesn’t seem to know how unhappy she should be. Lispector employs her pathetic heroine against her urbane, empty narrator–edge of despair to edge of despair–and, working them like a pair of scissors, she cuts away the reader’s preconceived notions about poverty, identity, love and the art of fiction. In her last book she takes readers close to the true mystery of life and leave us deep in Lispector territory indeed.
Clarice Lispector 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.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: