Author(s): Clarice Lispector
Seven decades after its original publication, Clarice Lispector's third novel--the story of a girl and the city her gaze reveals--is in English at last. Lucr cia Neves is ready to marry. Her suitors--soldierly Felipe, pensive Perseu, dependable Mateus--are attracted to her tawdry not-quite-beauty, which is of a piece with Sao Geraldo, the rough-and-ready township she inhabits. Civilization is on its way to this place, where wild horses still roam. As Lucr cia is tamed by marriage, Sao Geraldo gradually expels its horses; and as the town strives for the highest attainment it can conceive--a viaduct--it takes on the progressively more metropolitan manners that Lucr cia, with her vulgar ambitions, desires too. Yet it is precisely through this woman's superficiality--her identification with the porcelain knickknacks in her mother's parlor--that Clarice Lispector creates a profound and enigmatic meditation on "the mystery of the thing." Written in Europe shortly after Clarice Lispector's own marriage, The Besieged City is a proving ground for the intricate language and the radical ideas that characterize one of her century's greatest writers--and an ironic ode to the magnetism of the material.