In paperback, Clarice Lispector’s explosive and surprising second novel
The Chandelier, written when Lispector was only twenty-three, reveals a very different author from the college student whose debut novel, Near to the Wild Heart, announced the landfall of “Hurricane Clarice.”
Virginia and her cruel, beautiful brother, Daniel, grow up in a decaying country mansion. They leave for the city, but the change of locale leaves Virginia's internal life unperturbed. In intensely poetic language, Lispector conducts a stratigraphic excavation of Virginia's thoughts, revealing the drama of Clarice’s lifelong quest to discover “the nucleus made of a single instant”—and displaying a new face of this great writer, blazing with the vitality of youth.
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).
Magdalena Edwards is a writer, translator, and actor. Her work has appeared in the Boston Review, the Paris Review Daily, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Millions.
Benjamin Moser, the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, is the editor of ND’s Clarice Lispector translation series, of which this is the ninth volume. For Sontag: Her Life and Work, he won the Pulitzer Prize.
Lispector’s signature narrative style, which borders on stream-of-consciousness, is the vehicle for Virginia’s existential dilemmas and her observations about a world from which she often seems removed. The Chandelier includes all the earmarks of Lispector’s other work, too: a deep anguish, a search for the heart of human existence, and the unbearable weight of a solitude that is imperative to ultimate freedom.
— Eric Becker
It is a lyrical outpouring of sensation and perception...Lispector is up to some extraordinary things.
— Martin Riker
The revival of the hypnotic Clarice Lispector has been one of the true literary events of the 21st century.
— Parul Sehgal
It's a shaggy stop-motion masterpiece, plotless and argument-less and obsessed with the nature of thought....Every page vibrates with feeling. It's not enough to say that Lispector bends language, or uses words in new ways. Plenty of modernists do that. No one else writes prose this rich.
— Lily Meyer
Lispector’s second novel is a breathless, dizzying and multisensory dive into the mind...The first English translation of The Chandelier is a major event, offering the anglophone world an insight into Lispector’s early grappling with the shapes and rhythms of thought.
The Chandelier is an extraordinary book.
— Reinaldo Laddaga
A vulnerable and moving performance—with a heart-stopping payoff....an undeniable quantity of genius.
— Parul Sehgal
Lispector's signature brilliance lies in the minutely observed gradations of her characters' feelings and of their elusive, half-formed thoughts.
The Chandelier will reward those who enjoy challenging works about the power of the mind and about how we might grow up—without destroying who we have been, without fearing who we might come to be.
This is a haunting family fable, and will fascinate those seeking a glimpse at Lispector’s genius in development.
— The Chandelier
[L]yrical, sensual, philosophical...gorgeous, unsettling prose...
One of the twentieth century’s most mysterious writers.
— Orhan Pamuk
Better than Borges.
— Elizabeth Bishop
Utterly original and brilliant, haunting and disturbing.
— Colm Tóibín
The Chandelier is not a book to be read at a fast pace, but rather one to be slowly sipped and savored, a few pages at a time—one that forces us to find other modes of reading, of approaching literature, committed to finding the pleasures of the text.
— Christina Soto van der Plas
Virginia’s memory of the chandelier as an adult is as strange and ambiguous as the rest of the moments in the novel, deeply introspective and without a clear meaning, but the energy and spiritual wonder of her descriptions make the cryptic writing all the more resonant and spiritually urgent for both her character and her reader.
— Mike Broida