The Woman Who Killed the Fish (Hardcover)

By Clarice Lispector, Benjamin Moser (Translated by)

New Directions, 9780811229609, 64pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2021

List Price: 14.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

Four beguiling tales for children—a surprising new facet of Clarice Lispector’s genius


“That woman who killed the fish unfortunately is me,” begins the title story, but “if it were my fault, I’d own up to you, since I don’t lie to boys and girls. I only lie sometimes to a certain type of grownup because there’s no other way.” Enumerating all the animals she’s loved—cats, dogs, lizards, chickens, monkeys—Clarice finally asks: “Do you forgive me?”

       “The Mystery of the Thinking Rabbit” is a detective story which explains that bunnies think with their noses: for a single idea a bunny might “scrunch up his nose fifteen thousand times” (he may not be too bright, but “he’s not foolish at all when it comes to making babies”). The third tale, “Almost True,” is a shaggy dog yarn narrated by a pooch who is very worried about a wicked witch: “I am a dog named Ulisses and my owner is Clarice.” The wonderful last story, “Laura’s Intimate Life” stars “the nicest hen I’ve ever seen.” Laura is “quite dumb,” but she has her “little thoughts and feelings. Not a lot, but she’s definitely got them. Just knowing she’s not completely dumb makes her feel all chatty and giddy. She thinks that she thinks.” A visitor with one eye from Jupiter arrives and vows Laura will never be eaten: she’s been worrying since “humans are a weird sort of person” who can love hens and eat them, too. Such throwaway wisdom abounds: “Don’t even getting me started.” These delightful, high-hearted stories, written for her own boys, have charm to burn—and are a treat for every Lispector reader.


About the Author

Clarice Lispector (1920–1977), the greatest Brazilian writer of the twentieth century, has been called “astounding” (Rachel Kushner), “a penetrating genius” (Donna Seaman, Booklist), and “one of the twentieth century’s most mysterious writers” (Orhan Pamuk).

Benjamin Moser, the author of Sontag and Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, is the editor of ND’s Lispector translation series.


Praise For The Woman Who Killed the Fish

Lispector should be on the shelf with Kafka and Joyce.

Utterly original and brilliant, haunting and disturbing.
— Colm Tóibín

Better
than Borges.
— Elizabeth Bishop