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The Hour of the Star (Second Edition) Paperback – November 9, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0811219495 ISBN-10: 0811219496 Edition: Second Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; Second Edition edition (November 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811219496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811219495
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

Lispector's funniest work by far. —Rachel Kushner


“Lispector is the premier Latin American woman prose writer of this century.” (The New York Times)

“A genius of character and a literary magician.” (Publishers Weekly)

“An artist of vivid imagination. If her work is thoughtful and poetic, distinguished by touching insight and human sympathy, it is also full of irony and wild humor.” (Saturday Review)

“If she does — dare I say it? — touch you, she touches you like nothing else you’ve ever read.” (Benjamin Mosher - Vanity Fair)

“In less than one hundred pages, Clarice Lispector tells a brilliantly multi-faceted and searing story.” (Jesse Larsen - 500 Great Books by Women)

“I felt physically jolted by genius.” (Katherine Boo)

“This text investigates the knowledge of not knowing and the rich poverty of the inner void with stratagems of obfuscation, leaps of language, and suspensions of syntax and form that are perhaps best received by the gut.” (The Faster Times)

“The reader finds herself in the throes of a master, rendered speechless with awe and terror.” (The Brooklyn Rail)

“The only antidote to stupidity is an agitated intelligence constantly prowling for blank spots in one’s outward seeming. The Hour of the Star is a romance, then, between stupidity and its neurotic observer, a restless stretching away from form, tradition, and the stupefying rules they impose on writing.” (The New Inquiry)

“This is without a doubt one of the most audacious and affecting works of fiction I've ever read.” (Barnes and Noble Review)

“A new translation of Clarice Lispector’s searing last novel, The Hour of the Star by Lispector biographer Benjamin Moser—with an introduction by Colm Tóibín—reveals the mesmerizing force of the revitalized modernist’s Rio-set tale of a young naif, who, along with the piquantly intrusive narrator, challenges the reader’s notions of identity, storytelling, and love.” (

“In this slim novella, Lispector uses an intricate narrative structure in order to represent a peculiar state of mind. Rodrigo, a well-off and cultured man, struggles to tell the story of the sad life of Macabéa, an unhygienic, sickly, unlovable, and an altogether "un-ideal" typist living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Although Rodrigo claims he's the only person who could love Macabéa—if only because she's the subject of his narrative—he really tells her story as a way to thwart his own isolation. Lispector employs odd sentence fragments and erratic grammatical choices to highlight the importance of imagination as a means for her characters to liberate themselves from their banal existences. Through Rodrigo's narrative, Lispector artfully ponders the fate of her characters, and their fears and desires, in a harsh and unforgiving cityscape. Startlingly original and profoundly sad, The Hour of the Star is a provocative work by a highly influential author who should be more widely read.” (Jeff Brewer - Critical Mob)

“The Hour of the Star trips up our concept of the novel.  What a story is expected to do.  How characters act.  Why writers write.  Why readers read.  It’s an experience you won’t forget.” (Charles Larson - Counter Punch)

“A truly remarkable writer.” (Jonathan Franzen)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on August 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
You know what, I don't think I'll tell you anything about this 77-page epiphany. Nothing I could write would stand comparison to it. Don't waste your aging eyes on me; just get the book.

"A Hora da Estrela" was Clarice Lispector's last work, published in 1977 shortly before her death. Having stumbled upon her first novel, translated as "Near to the Wild Heart," and having had my socks knocked off by that experience, naturally I decided to read her last book next. I reviewed "Near to the Wild Heart" just a week or so ago; I urge you to begin with it, as I did. And ASAP! Don't take a chance on being struck dead by space debris before reading Clarice Lispector!

I thought, when I picked up 'Near to the Wild Heart', that I'd never heard of Lispector. That was a failure of memory. The poet Elizabeth Bishop, who lived in Brazil for fifteen years, knew Lispector and her work, and translated a couple of her shortest stories to English, including "The Smallest Woman in the World", which I read in college, in manuscript. Anything Bishop loved, her poet friend Robert Lowell also felt compelled to love, and to pass on to his students, including me. Oh well, I didn't catch the bug then, possibly a matter of good luck since now I have all of her work to relish. And "age" has made me a more insightful reader.

There are some complaints in the previous reviews about the quality of Benjamin Moser's translations of Lispector's work. I haven't attempted to read her in Portuguese (yet) and I haven't seen the older translations. All I can say is that I don't find Moser's style awkward or implausible.
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Format: Paperback
In her final novel, Brazilian novelist/poet Clarice Lispector (1920 - 1977) writes an eerie, almost supernatural tale of Macabea, a nineteen-year-old woman almost devoid of opinion, thoughts, and even feelings. Her story is being told by Roderigo S.M., a writer, similarly isolated, without a long-term idea of what he wants to write, though he says, as he begins the story, that he has "glimpsed in the air the feeling of perdition on the face of a northeastern girl [Macabea]." He tells the reader that "This isn't just narrative, it's above all primary life that breathes, breathes, breathes," he states, leaving the reader in somewhat of a quandary trying to figure out what he is talking about.

In telling Macabea's story, however, the narrator discovers that he himself has a kind of destiny, and that "the action of this story will end up with my transformation into somebody else. Initially, though, the novel recreates the narrator's maunderings as he tries to get started and wonders what to say. "Will things happen? They will. But what things? I don't know that either." He recognizes the importance of keeping things simple in writing, though "I know splendid adjectives, meaty nouns, and verbs so slender that travel sharp through the air." Macabea lives aimlessly, he says, and that "if she was dumb enough to ask herself `who am I?' she would fall flat on her face...[She is] so dumb that she sometimes smiles at other people on the street. Nobody smiles back because they don't even see her.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book that Hollywood could never understand how to adapt into a film, at least not without rewriting it significantly. The main character, even through the jaundiced eye of the narrator is irresistible.
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By amanda on September 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is weird but enlightening. I didn't know what was going on but then parts became humorous and others became sad and though provoking
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