The oft-mentioned Virginia Woolf is also a misleading comparison, given that Lispector is not stream-of-consciousness. “I want every sentence of this book to be a climax,” she says in A Breath of Life, and even that self-reflexive admission is itself a kind of climax. In terms of midcentury currents and her own contemporaries, I don’t believe Lispector was consciously experimental. There is no Oedipal break being put into play, as with the New Novelists, no Oulipian limitation created in order to unlock something. If anything, there might be a link between her and the great Brazilian artists of her generation, Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape, and Hélio Oiticica. As she says in Água Viva, “I want geometric streaks that cross in the air and form a disharmony that I understand. Pure it.” When she was living in Chevy Chase, Maryland, in the 1950s, playing, or simply being, a housewife, Lispector’s own contribution to the American Christmas tradition of holiday decorations was to cover a pine tree on her front lawn with dangling irregular forms in black, gray, and brown. “For me,” she said, “that’s what Christmas is.”
Some Clarice Lispector over at Bookforum.