Clarice Lispector, Selected Cronicas, New Directions, 1984
I've recommended this book to several people and none of them have liked it. They were all wrong.
In the late Sixties an inspired newspaper editor turned to Lispector, Brazil's great experimental novelist, and said, essentially, "You're our genius. I'm gonna give you some space in the paper and you can do whatever the hell you want." She filled that space with these cronicas, a form peculiar to Brazil that includes intimate essays, sketches, complaints, aphorisms and meditations.
Lispector digs for truth with a determination I've rarely found in print. Reading "The Egg and the Chicken" I feel like I'm drawing extraordinarily close to what can never be said in words so that when she says something as simple and playful as "the chicken is the egg's disguise" I want to cheer.
This book is one of my all-time favorite train companions, perfect to dive into in spare moments and let Lispector's intimate voice jolt me into being more entirely alive.
from Selected Cronicas, page 9
I said to a friend:
-- Life has always asked too much of me.
-- But don't forget that you also ask too much of life.
That is true.