"That rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf," Clarice Lispector is one of the most popular but least understood of modern Latin American writers. Now, after years of research on three continents, drawing on previously unknown manuscripts and dozens of interviews, including with many witnesses who have never before been heard, Benjamin Moser demonstrates how Clarice Lispector's development as a writer was directly connected to the story of her turbulent life.
Born in 1920, in the nightmarish landscape of post-World War I Ukraine, her family driven to a distant country by the fearsome pogroms that killed her mother and ruined her father, Clarice triumphed over her origins to become, virtually from adolescence, a person whose beauty, genius, and eccentricity intrigued all of Brazil's writers and artists. Why This World tells how this precocious girl, through long exile abroad and difficult personal struggles, matured into a great writer -- and demonstrates, for the first time, the deep roots in the Jewish mystical tradition that make her the true heir to Kafka.
Against a sweeping historical panorama, from the Ukraine to Brazil, from Naples and Berne and Washington to Rio de Janeiro -- Why This World is an essential introduction to the work of one of the twentieth century's most important writers, indispensable for students of Jewish, Latin American, and women's literature. Stripping away the mythology that has accreted around her extraordinary figure and restoring her essential humanity behind the reputation of the "sacred monster," Moser shows, above all, how Clarice Lispector transformed the personal struggles of a single woman into works of universal resonance. As she said: "I am all of yourselves."
"A smart, passionate portrait of a truly remarkable writer. Lispector is a great subject, and Moser is the perfect biographer for her." -- Jonathan Franzen
"Benjamin Moser has recreated all the psychological and cultural context needed to understand this great writer, and brought to life her essentially tragic nature in all its complexity." -- Edmund White
"...It is impossible, as you read her, to know who she might have been, or where she came from, or what she was like. Now, finally, the plot has been thickened and the problem solved by Benjamin Moser's biography which is rich in detail and original research, and filled with sympathy for what must remain hidden and what must be understood." -- Colm Tóibín Benjamin Moser, born in Houston in 1976, has lived in New York, London, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro, and currently makes his home in the Netherlands. He has worked in publishing in New York and was an editor in London. He is currently a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and Harper's as well as many other publications. He has published several translations and speaks six languages fluently, with a strong working knowledge of six others. His mother, Brazos manager Jane Moser, is very proud of him. (booksense)