In her mixture of nonchalance, inscrutability, wit, and knowing simplicity, in her use of tones that are whimsical and subtle, in the stories that are filled with abstractions, Clarice Lispector has perhaps more in common with some Brazilian visual artists of her generation than she does with any writers.
Clarice Lispector was born in Ukraine in 1920 and taken to Brazil as an infant. Raised in Recife, the north of the country, she married a diplomat and thus spent many years traveling before returning to Brazil to live in Rio de Janeiro. In 1966 she was badly injured in a fire in her apartment. She died in 1977.
By the time of her death, she had become, Benjamin Moser writes in his biography of her, “one of the mythical figures of Brazil, the Sphinx of Rio de Janeiro, a woman who fascinated her countrymen virtually from adolescence.”* Her looks were often commented on and there was much gushing nonsense written about her. The translator Gregory Rabassa, for example, recalled being “flabbergasted to meet that rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf.” The poet Ferreira Gullar remarked that “she looked like a she-wolf, a fascinating wolf.” And the French critic Hélène Cixous declared that Lispector was what Kafka would have been had he been a woman, or “if Rilke had been a Jewish Brazilian born in the Ukraine. If Rimbaud had been a mother, if he had reached the age of fifty. If Heidegger could have ceased being German.”
Read more about Clarice Lispector here
An excellent interview with Clarice Lispector, possibly the greatest Jewish writer since Kafka :
Benjamin Moser speaks about his translation :