Friday, October 30, 2009
"No one, perhaps, has gone as explicitly far as Rosenzweig in extirpating, ultimately eradicating, Islam from the figure of humanity, that is to say, from the theologico-political, from the religious and historical world configuration that is constituted by Judaism and Christianity. " Before God, then, Jew and christian both labor at the same task. He cannot dispense with either. He has set enmity between the two for all times, and withal has known intimately bound to each".
This exclusion constitutes Rosenzweig's political theology, the theologico-political configuration that links three rather than two entities commonly referred to as 'religions.' This term 'religion' of course means very little to Rosenzweig, who recasts each element( God, world, and man) as privileged in its relation to one of the three religions. Judaism is with God, Christianity is man on its way to God, Islam is the war of the world. Judaism is theological, and it therefore experiences war as political. Christianity is the embodiment of the theologico-political, unable to know the difference when it comes to war. Islam, finally is detheologized and can therefore spread nothing but holy war. Rosenzweig casts Islam at once as the most obvious and the most hidden figure of the world as political. He casts Islam as the most extreme opposite, the most distant figure in its relation to Judaism, in relation to the theological space that Judaism occupies. Rosenzweig casts Islam as the political enemy.
Islam, one could say, cannot relate to the world because it is the world.......what Rosenzweig makes explicit is the structure of the theologico-political as constitutively Abrahamic. By enacting the exclusion of Islam, by making visible the becoming of the theologico-political as the Jude-Christian, Rosenzweig makes Islam into the invisible enemy. He also made Islam the political enemy. With the Star, with what can be seen as a certain culmination of its history, the enemy draws away, and with him, the Jew, the Arab."
from The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy, Gil Anidjar
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
teeth of gold
teeth of pollen
like the mouth of a girl
from whose hair swells a river
in each drop a tiny fish
in each tiny fish a gold tooth
in each gold tooth a fifteen-year-old smile,
that dragonflies may reproduce
What can a maiden think about
when the wind discovers her thighs?
from An Unspeakable Betrayal, Luis Bunuel
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Interpersed as his writings are with photos, Sebald does his usual jumps in memory, reflecting from Benjamin and Carl Seelig, the man responsible for Walser's reputation as a writer at present. Sebald then frighteningly mentions another coincidence; he finds it really strange that he should come across the word Trauerlaufbahn, a word he says "I believed, when i wrote it down in one of my own works, to be an invention entirely my own". However, it had already been coined by Walser in his work The Robber. This incident, "has the persistent feeling of being beckoned to from the other side", meaning Walser. Sebald then writes about the comical dimension of Walserian fiction, the long sentences and the often done comparison with Gogol.
One of the strange methods that Walser had of writing secretly were his Bleistiftsgebeit, which some have viewed as a sign of his mental deterioration. To Sebald, these elusive texts are not a sign of a psychotic state but a reflection of absolute integrity, a work most daring, a self portrait and a self examination. This pencil system is the preparation of a life underground, these microscripts a sign of inner emigration. The subsequent events of Walser's life are described in the way that only Sebald could, with a repetitive sonorous pattern, allusions and reflections and yet never allowing his fondness for Walser overcome that objective appraisal that few are as capable of as Sebald.
The essay ends with a quote from Nabokov's Speak, Memory and while reading this essay and immediately afterwards, I felt that calm and glad acceptance, that unvoiced thankfulness towards those gods or demons that lead us to the books we read, for I am fond of Sebald and Walser and Nabokov and to find all the three merging in the same essay and on the same page seemed a Sebaldian kind of coincidence. I discovered Walser nearly two years ago and have read his longer works. I personally do not find Walser in the same tradition as Gogol for Gogol's style is outrageously cheeky and borders on the farcical while Walser's prose, generally described as august and dreamy, is quite honestly, simply not from this world.
Walser's prose has a hypnotic quality, that once it seizes you, a sense of calm dread prevails, the convoluted and complexity and sometimes Gogolian nature of the spoken sentences leaves the taste of burning sunsets on your skin, a feeling of having experienced the most unforgettable and yet the most fulfilling defeat and sadness; as if defeat in itself is so rewarding, so Walserian. Walser's prose makes one want to extinguish all lamps, turn out all lights and to love the very silence that one dreads. The sin of not reading Walser, the pain of reading Walser. And this essay, this very Sebaldian saturnine attempt, this gloriously poignant tribute to a great writer from a great writer.
for science-fiction fans
On the frosted patios.................. In the bedrooms of passage
On the iced-over paths................. When everything finally seems clearer
and each instant is better and less important
With cigarette in mouth and with fear................ Sometimes
green eyes........... And 26 years................. Yours truly
from The Romantic Dogs, Roberto Bolano
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Helene Cixous writes with the force of torrents, unleashed unstoppable rapids, like we imagine angels should if they could, with music, loud and deeply touching, fast, furious, like a poet. There, in the painting above by Rembrandt, she approaches it with twenty-four steps. She who is percieved from afar, the non-nude nudity. Without a man.
It would be the last thing I do, write about the painting above, but I write about this halting stuttering poetry of Cixous', this chant, this prose, music that fills, that leaves leaving us longing, a cadence, some steps, a bit more, less, again, again, the same want, then the considerable erudition, insights, darkness, insights, her wandering, her Jewish-wandering, a flash, then loneliness. However, I am interested in certain aspects of how she reads this painting; what follows is just a paraphrase of her reading, which I intend to complete in three posts.
The background she warns is black; blackness isn't black, it is the last degree of reds. The secret blood of reds. Then the expression on Bathsheba's face: the passivity, the despondency, the imminence, drooping. We don't know where we are, what time, what age? Our own country, a foreign land, our hearts, that foreign country? No, this is interior land, the interior Bible.
We see some light on her, we see her servant now. Asks Cixious: Of what secret lights are we made? What lives do we live, this light takes us inside, down the stairs we never take, to the interior land. The entire room is flesh. Sex. Then again:
She does not look at us. She is of those who do not look at us. I mean to say: Bathsheba, Mary, don't look at us, don't stop living, in order to look at us. And when we look at them, thoughts take leave.
What is she thinking about?
Then we see the older woman, at the bottom. Says Cixous: the older woman is Bathsheba's foreignness, her exoticism, Asia. And the woman's coif is oriental. The body is Bathsheba's, the coif is the older woman's.
The servant gazes towards the East, Bathsheba towards the occidental future. The two gazes don't see each other. They are on two parallel planes. And then we see the letter.
I daresay that this is only half the movement, half of her approach. What interests me is the Occidental gaze. The coiffured servant, at her feet stands no chance. Though she too has partaken something from her. But the gazes are different, even if they are day dreaming. They are not of this world, they are parallel to each other. I don't know why I feel a pang for Bathsheba's servant.
from Stigmata, Cixous
Friday, October 16, 2009
In order to access the main character in his novels, the narrator and the reader must leave their usual habitat. He or sometimes she is always in the country side, in remote and desolate parts, besides torrents, having left some form of an easy life behind. The protagonist has usually been living there for some time or is considering living there, an action that is considered new for that person or exaggerated or strange. The protagonist must leave something or end something to begin anew or come to a standstill altogether. This refrain is not unusual in Bernhard and in Frost, our narrator, a medical intern, has been assigned to study the protagonist, who has been living in the Klamm valley for years without any external contact. This is indeed novel, for in his later novels, there is no specific contract for a case study, or it is not revealed so candidly. Thus the tone is set for an encounter between us and the painter, simply called Strauch.
The painter has been living in an inhospitable pub for years in this remote place and our narrator has been assigned by the painter's brother to observe him and prepare notes. It seems that there must be something wrong with the painter, a man who is isolated, who is isolating himself and is by all accounts strange.The narrator must not reveal his true identity for that will expose his brother in the city and will not lead to a true account, a true description of the painter, in his usual state, habitat. I do not propose to write a summary of this novel but to approach it from those perspectives which are so well known and liked by Bernhard's readers, an art that reached frenzied pitch in his later novels. But, I feel that in Frost, not only does Bernhard reveal the full force of his later menace but he does it with exquisite charm, sarcasm, wit and astounding lyricism, a factor not seen in his other works to this extent.
A case for paranoia
In my opinion, the painter Strauch suffers from paranoia, and it seems, a case for delusions and a more florid psychosis can be made.This must not be done hurriedly but I will quote the painter to illustrate the point. It is quite clear that the painter lives in isolation and is stressed. He has chosen to remain so. Right from the first moment, he launches into a tirade, an uncalled for aggressive rant against the villagers and yet, he does not ever substantiate his claims with facts, which could prove him right. His claims and thoughts are based on his perceptions alone, and these perceptions are internal, based again on opinions which he has elaborated over the years. He does not have a direct case against the village or villagers but his reflections are a consequence of his interaction with them, which to some extent, are one sided. The ideas are not just bloated and over valued, thay are clearly dominating his internal and external landscape. However, the cause of such methodology is also a process of communicating something, which is however, closed to us.
Exaggeration as a schema
To exaggerate, to repeat, to create from that exaggeration a suffocating pervading sense of restlessness, and then to build from that a picture of doom and gloom, Bernhard achieves that all in Frost. He build that dichotomy in this text, wherein everyone apart from tha narrator is a misfit, mentally unwell and so on. This exaggeration leads to the buildup of a flavour of an environment where everyone is either dead or dying. Whatever moral leverage left is lost and from that distance itself, the narrator's own exaggeration is evident too.Bernhard uses the same method in most of his novels and it serves his purpose admirably. This exaggeration makes another case for paranoid assumptions, only we can guess that Bernhard has created a distance from his characters and this paranoia in itself is a warning to the reader.
One of the consistent themes in Bernhard is of the vileness, the immorality of the landscape and the diseased state of the people, as if everyone is ill or malformed. This forth in the light of the things after the war. This valley is death to any tenderness of feeling. The whole region is sodden with disease. He goes on to enumerate the various congenital diseases that the villagers have, their festering ills and at one point says that everyone has tuberculosis. The impression that we get is not just of a physical dimension but that of a moral one, for with repetition, a device that he uses with sinister effect, we are scared into thinking of a more dangerous, more sinister and unnatural affliction, rather than a curable one. Since nothing can be cured, nothing can be saved. However, no one realizes that they are ill and this makes them more sinister and hence to be shunned. The painter is the only one who thinks so for neither the landlady nor the knacker ever talk of epidemics of hydrocephalus or tuberculosis or the inefficacy of streptomycin.
The very landscape, water, trees, snow and animals are degenerate and diseased. Is it because of the war or any political complicitness during the war? Is it because of Austrian silence during the second war? This theme is central for Bernhard, for in all his major works, he alludes to this.
I think that frost is Bernhard's most lyrical novel, as close to poetry that he allows himself to get to in his prose.
The poetry of repetition, of a sonorous lyricism, of a melancholic intonation is quite evident here. In his poems, Bernhard achieves a pilgrim mystic, prayer like litany and though Frost is prose, there is evidence of such melancholy here. Some of the passages are beautiful but the beauty is blighted by the sense of a desperate doom, not only clinging to the skins inside but also hanging from the icicles, in the gorges, near the torrents that pervade this resolutely impervious landscape.This poetry is both open and closed to us. The beauty of this poetry is a warning, a disease, a death, a dying.
Frost is a brilliant novel and like all Bernhard fiction, the terror is not just in the reading but in the atmosphere that pervades that terror. One returns to Frost again and again and that is its lasting triumph.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
as your skin will blaze with my touch,
as the fever in your eyes will rise
step by feverish step.
The fast darts of your passion.
The waters of poetry will rise
as I will recite aloud the poems
that you like
and leave the best till the end,
leave it on the tip of my tongue
to leave it on the tip of your tongue.
The waters of poetry will mount
and the fever in your eyes will rage
like an angry beast against the chains
of this beastly fire.
The fires will burn and won't die out.
Night itself will stoke the beast of this poem,
stir the waters of this poem
as the madness of our skins will
unremember the reason of our reserve.
This blaze and fever will restore
the forgotten lyric of our skin and stones.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
when you came finally,
when you came at last to me.
i had waited days and months
past silences, past hope
and had lost faith in mediums and magic.
and then you came
and rain fell, as you walked out of the crowd
towards me, my eyes wide,
my arms stronger, restored in faith.
i know you are mine now,
as i watch you sit and sleep, as
your voice covers me with its ripples,
as i waste myself from a distance.
but you give me new memories,
and i feel taut and stretched and tired,
since you will leave soon,
leaving me to my sullen hours, my restless repose.
i know the face of the hour when you will leave,
when i will hate mirrors and destiny,
mute with walls and stones and silences.
i wish you had not come at all.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Fassbinder : I can for instance. There comes a moment when I can't do anything but say it. I've even got myself to the point where I don't tell myself how dumb it sounds. In the beginning I would say, I love you, but make it ironic. In the meantime I have taught myself not to,and when the moment comes, I simply say it, which doesn't mean that I'm not standing back and watching myself at the same time.But this business of always checking to see if my experiences can be used as material is another question.
I allow my film characters much more leeway than I give myself. For instance, I reached the point much earlier with the characters in my films Where I could give them a chance to express their feelings directly.
from The Anarchy of the Imagination, Fassbinder
Monday, October 12, 2009
For the Fassbinder struck, any addition to the canon is valuable. This may be interviews on DVD or a newly published biography. Wallace Steadman Watson's Understanding Fassbinder: Film as public and private art is one such work. I know it is a mistake but I make it here: I compared this work to Elsaesser's work on Fassbinder which I must admit, I like more. Perhaps, Elsaesser's work has a more in depth sociological perspective into the environment of post war Germany which sets the tone for a lot of his work. There is a more versatile analysis of the movies which is lacking to some extent in this book. That however, should in no way detract from the merits of this book.
Watson charts the course of well, what was a stormy affair of a life, Fassbinder's birth, the early events of his childhood and the influence of Sirk on the Fassbinder way of making movies. That Sirkean melodrama was an influential factor on Fassbinder in now too well recognized; that melodrama was not unknown as such to Fassbinder is not well known. Watson devotes a well written chapter to the Women's pictures, including a documented analysis of Effi Briest, Petra von Kant and Martha. Fassbinder's troubled relationship with his mother is discussed too but not in a detailed manner, much is left for us to imagine. And his relationship with his stepdad, the liberal journalist Wolff Eder is discussed too. This person was to play a crucial part in Fassbinder's understanding of the problem of history in modern Germany, including the ideology of repression which gained ground after the second war. The women's pictures discussed here include Veronica Voss, Lola and Maria Braun. I have in my previous posts written about Fassbinder's anger-love hate relationship with Hanna Schygulla, which is briefly mentioned.
For me personally, the few pages devoted to In a Year of 13 Moons is the highlight of this book, for it narrates the development of what is Fassbinder's bleakest, most compelling, most powerful and the most polyphonic narrative within the movie genre. There are sections devoted to Berlin Alexanderplatz of course, and his scripts, and his hates and friendships and loves and wars and so on. Altogether, it is a decidedly good read and a good introduction to the Fassbinderless.
Much of what Fassbinder did was political, I think and some of it seems pure melancholic left wing despair. In his case, art comes out of crisis and defiance. Thus, Fassbinder wants to stay out of power and fight against authority. His self imposed exile must be seen in this light. He liked melodrama, Hollywood and its vanities. He also liked to show how it is. It is the recognition of aggression that was his genius, even very low aggression. Thus, all he does in one way or another is show how aggressive we generally are. And violent.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
releasing me, from doubt, from the tidal
pain of moon
I have felt washed at shore, left unconcerned
from the hum of doubt, never before has
loneliness looked like reward.
I lie limp but awake, these ripples in my mind
no longer seethe.
All my questions have been answered, my loves
rewarded, the pain of each separation erased
what was it that hung on me, carried me to this shore
What stung the moon ? what drove those waves?
why this repose? what night is this without a search for meaning?
This listless repose, these no thoughts of you,
my dreamless moments, my acheless painless night.
Sink me back and drown me, take me to my ledge
where doubts hang dark, where the tides fall back
and recede and rise again.
Give me that night that lives me or give me sleep,
give me love that loves me or drive me deep
into that deep rictus, which the moon prepares
from its dark haunting ground.
I prefer the loneliness of doubt than the
aftertaste of certain calm.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Who can forget the image of Gerasim walking towards his village in darkness, deaf and dumb amongst shadows, a sack on his shoulders, an indelible image in all literature?
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
huge, unending, black with doubt.
when nights come, nights like this,
with parallel pains of many kind,
different strands within the same
kind of unease, with new difference, as each act
passes into new discomfort.
The beginning and the end are known
as the issue is not forced,
thinking is not stretched to the point
of meaning or revelation,
and each act of meaningful pain remains
unresolved, an act of subterfuge,
just a jostled attempt with words.
These nights are no more than rhetorical questions
with unresolved knots and depth less depths.
No metaphysical notes, no existential lines
streak the sky of my nights.
I only ask for a favour, one favour.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
a mare in smoke, a daughter with
thick eyebrows, brown eyes, long
hair like a night of songs over her shoulders. Her image
doesn't leave him when he comes over to ask for tea. But he
doesn't speak to us about her evening chores, or about
a mare abandoned by songs at the top of a hill...
...In our shack the enemy takes a rest from his gun,
leaving it on my grandfather's chair. He eats our bread
like a guest, dozes on
the wicker chair, caresses our cat's
fur. He always says to us:
Don't blame the victim!
Who is the victim? We ask him
He answers: Blood that the night will never dry...
...The buttons on his uniform sparkles as he draws away.
Good evening to you! Say hello to our well
and to our fig trees. Tread gently on
our shadow in the barley fields. Say hello, higher up, to
our pines. Don't forget to lock the gate
at night. Don't forget the horse's
fear of airplanes
And greet us, there, if time allows...
These words that we'd wished
to say at the door... he hears them,
hears them well, but hides them in a quick cough
and tosses them aside
So why does he visit the victim every evening?
And memorize our proverbs, like us?
And repeat our songs of
our own appointments in the holy place?
Were it not for the gun
the flute would pass into the flute...
...The war will last as long as the earth
in us revolves around itself!
Let's be good then. He used to ask us
to be good. He'd read the verses
of Yeat's Airman: Those that I fight
I do not hate, those that I guard
I do not love...
Then he'd leave our wooden shack
and walk eighty meters to
our stone house, there, at the edge of the plain...
Say hello to our house, stranger
Our coffee cups
are still as they were. Can you smell
our fingers on them? Will you tell your daughter with
her long hair and two thick eyebrows that she has
an absent friend
who would like to visit her? For nothing...
but to enter her mirror and see his secret:
How she follows, after him, the course of his life
in his place? Say hello to her
if time allows...
These words that we'd wished
to say, he hears them,
hears them well
but hides them in a quick cough
and tosses them aside. The buttons
of his uniform sparkle as he draws away...
Monday, October 05, 2009
That is a lot of politics for one post, and besides what is the use of visiting this kind of politics anyway. One is left with the distaste of dusty mirrors in long forgotten halls and attics in houses where no one visits anymore and no one lives. Old melancholic songs, little ditties that are difficult to hum, poems forgotten, loves hushed up, the distinct memory of a distinct memory, the probability of having written these lines before, the night outside, the same same.
It is quite certain now that old friends will never meet again, how is it possible anyway and who will take such trouble? The last time that friends met, if only the tremors of time could have warned people, given them a hint that now is the last time, after this no more, regret if you want, think of a smile, a parting glance for after this there is only misery, only parting, only tragedy. Where is politics, unless there is a politics in parting too, the politics of parting and fading away forever?
One must be a realist they taught, idealism gets you nowhere, yes read but be sure, sure of yourself, for when nights end, when nights reach an end suddenly, then the next day is too bright anyway, besides the merchants have gone, the small shops have shut down, the old neighbourhoods have changed, people migrate, some have left their countries altogether, there is noise, it is deafening, there is so much clamor, there is no space for poetry anymore.
New writers were discovered, war & peace happened ages ago, this is not even solar pessimism, that too was abandoned, now is the time for lyricism, of a new kind, of a new song, for evenings come abruptly bringing fatal nights, nights of revision, of hushed lips, of those nights that are unending, those that end later, leaving a mirage, a litter of thoughts, only for them to lose sight of themselves among these new books, new monsters. And then these thoughts too are difficult to sustain, to reach a certain end, for beginning demands a certain closure, a break. And then everything ends suddenly, like certain meetings and even the viability of these paragraphs seem dubious, so utterly utterly unnecessary.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
'I just love bolts and nails, what about you sir?' "
Lispector, The Hour of the Star
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Discovering the holy name is not permissible for the Jewish mystic, for it can belong to no human tongue. Her biographer claims that this senseless babble that she created was the culmination of her 'search', for true words. She said once, " I restrain myself, as if holding the reins of a horse that could gallop off and take me God knows where."
Lispector is I guess not the only one who invented a personal language to talk or communicate. Myself included, I know some who would speak at those hours where intimacy and knowing melt into a state of knowing and recognition or awareness. At those instances only a personal language can bridge enormous chasms. When I read these words, everything seemed familiar. This language or intimate words do not interest me from any mystical dimension of hers which I doubt but from a personal aspect as it is not entirely an idiosyncratic expression. To import any transcedental angle would be to give it a dimension that it lacks.
Below, an extract of Lispectorish, from her biography.
Angela....Batuba jantiram lecoli? adapiu quereba salutria kalusia. dacoleba, titban, ziticoba, letuban. joju leba, leba jan? Tutiban leba, lebajan. Atotoquina, zefiram. jetobabe? jetoban.
Friday, October 02, 2009
this alone night
you somewhere and I sit here fuming
tracing the first letter of your name on my palm
again and again
to undo the sea between us the gap words lost
hearing a tune I heard late last night in my head
I hear it again and again a serpent tune
like your name constantly in my head
I erase your name letter by latter
in anger and surprise
to undo the sea the silence between us the heaviness
this is nothing but revenge this hatred you also call
love this step by step murder of my love
like marks in my skin your name digs deep
you serpent strange music enemy whore
I cross your name off letter by letter
in anger and dismay
to undo the sea the silence between us the waiting the love
"This is how it looks from the inside looking out......and from the outside looking in?
so now I look from outside to inside, and summa summarum, this movement from outside to inside and from inside to outside gives me the contemplative peace of the philosopher.
I love the night for she wears no veil; in the day nerves are tugged to and fro till they go blind but, at night, beasts of prey take one in a stranglehold and the life of the nerves recovers from the anaesthetic of the day and unfolds within; a new sensation of self emerges that is like stepping suddenly in front of a mirror that has not received a single ray of light for days and, drinking in greedily, holds out one's own face."
The prose written during the night, the emotional closeness of night seems weak and limpid when examined during the day. Says Musil again "Monsieur le vivisecteur....that is who I am! My life: the wanderings and adventures of a vivisectionist of souls at the beginning of the twentieth century".
Musil's prose is distilled, it is clear liquid. The only loser is the reader if the thread is not visible. Musil, poet-philosopher-scientist-analyst-historian, "brain-man perhaps" he says. However, "all words are so ambiguous, so resonant in meaning, so double-edged in feeling, that one is wise to steer clear of them."
Thursday, October 01, 2009
It seems that everybody is on the Bolano bandwagon. Even people who normally desist from such pursuits are reading 2666. In some quarters Bolano excites irritation. This posthumous success does not meet the approval of literary establishments in certain quarters. I think I liked reading 2666 as much as I liked his TSD. However, as some maintain, it is in his shorter fiction that Bolano scales dizzying heights. I think Amulet and the unforgettable collection called Last evenings on earth represent the real music of his prose. I confess I haven't yet read his poetry collection called The Romantic Dogs. Another short novel called The Skating Rink is coming out soon courtesy New Directions. At Three Percent, Chad Winters writes about this new book.
The real highlight it seems is the publication of The Tanners by Robert Walser. I wrote about two of his books that I read a couple of years ago. However, when I go into Walser mode, then I hate blogging for he makes everything seem superfluous. But it is my intention to read this book.
Moser's Why This World, an account of Clarice Lispector's life is a sympathetic study, an appreciation. If Lispector's husband faded into distance after years of marriage, writing apologetic letters to her later, it is not possible for the determined reader to get to any proximity to her scheme of things. Lispector was shrouded in mystery when well known, unknown when not really famous.Some thought she was a man. Lispector perhaps did not deliberately create that aura, that mystery. That was partly because of who she was.....an outsider in Brazil, Jewish-Ukrainian, even though she was only one when her family fled pogroms in the Ukraine. Her accent made her stand apart. Then the great danger she presented, the physicality of her charm, her attractiveness, her prose, her dangerous mysterious closed prose.
If Lucio Cardoso, who she loved had not been a homosexual, Lispector's life could have turned away from the voluntary exile associated with being a diplomat's wife. With Lispector, the twin faces of acceptance and rebellion, domesticity versus individuality found flower in her first great novel. Moser sketches her childhood from family and close confidants, their troubles in the Ukraine, their poverty in Brazil, the pain of displacement. She denied standing outside the glittering gloss of Rio. She belonged to Brazil, she insisted. Near to the wild heart leads to the recognition of a conflict but no solution, and later novels heighten the pain and mystery. Her own neuroses lead to psychotherapy, divorce and other loves, they lead to insomnia and a burnt scarred hand.
The acts of love are questioned constantly, she self aids herself with a certain dated mysticism, outright rejection, affirmation in faith, then there is the impossibility of bridging the gap, yes, words are there but words are merely words. Later on it gives us Agua Viva, benzodiazepines, strange and childish insistence on attention, very demanding behaviours too. When the edifice on which we base our lives start to crumble, and loved ones vanish so easily, then words present a certain refuge. Her beauty was intimidating, her intelligence formidable, the questions she asked difficult.
Moser's biography leaves gaps and I felt we really do not know Lispector after a few hundred pages. Her construction is based purely from her novels., which is not satisfactory. The woman who was an insomniac couls sleep as well, that threshold can never be known, that hour between wakefulness and drowsy numbness. However, this book is a good point to start an acquaintance with Lispector. It should be carried on by reading her novels.
Within 95 pages is achieved what other writers usually take hundreds to do. The novel is not perfect, it has 13 titles, A hora de la Estrella one amongst them. Lispector takes the fight away, one is surrounded by pounding screaming demons, till all energy is sapped. The young no one, asthenic anorexic poor girl from the north east of Brazil, in the energy sapping bulimia of grand Rio, the star glazed glitter of 1960's Copacabana, the beach, the crazy crazy world of being no one, poverty, sharing apartments, lives dreams and stories, and then everything ends at the hour of reckoning.Life punches you in the stomach says Lispector. Go away, be rather dead.
The Hour Of the Star, this great novella was written by Clarice Lispector towards the end of her life. It was written after The Apple in the Dark and The Passion according to G.H. In this novella, Lispector questions the relationship between the author and the text, a narrative objectivity does not always create a polyphony within the story telling context. The narrator exists apart from the writer? The girl needs a voice, needs a voice. She has seen her, she. People can catch your eye crossing busy streets, even if they are the least eye catching. She tells her story. In the end it achieves nothing, for Lispector thoroughly believed that writing changes nothing.
The Hour of the Star is a brilliant achievement, a novel written by a novelist whose cabbalistic mystical tendencies were well known. She had famously wanted to go beyond man in the absence of god. She retreated to a different position towards the end, when this novel was written. This novel was written on scraps of paper, on cigarette packs. It not only helped spread her aura further but also secured her mystery in the pantheon of Brazilian Literature. There was only one Clarice and in Brazilian literature, only one Lispector. It is a matter of debate whether her prose is more beautiful than she herself.