The Passion According to G.H. (Paperback)
Lispector’s most shocking novel.
The Passion According to G.H., Clarice Lispector’s mystical novel of 1964, concerns a well-to-do Rio sculptress, G.H., who enters her maid’s room, sees a cockroach crawling out of the wardrobe, and, panicking, slams the door —crushing the cockroach —and then watches it die. At the end of the novel, at the height of a spiritual crisis, comes the most famous and most genuinely shocking scene in Brazilian literature…
Lispector wrote that of all her works this novel was the one that “best corresponded to her demands as a writer.”
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).
Idra Novey is a poet and translator. She is a lecturer at the Creative Writing Program at Columbia University. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review, The Believer, and Ploughshares, and her collection The Next Country appeared in 2008.
Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle award. At New Directions, he edits the new translation of Clarice Lispector's work, of which The Besieged City is the eighth volume. For promoting her work around the world, the Brazilian government awarded him the first State Prize in Cultural Diplomacy. A former books columnist at Harper’s Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, his latest book, Sontag: Her Life and Work, is published by Ecco Press.
She is quite a thing to discover indeed.
[Lispector] left behind an astounding body of work that has no real corollary inside literature or outside it.
Her images dazzle even when her meaning is most obscure, and when she is writing of what she despises she is lucidity itself.
Over time, I’ve come to admire and even love this novel. In fact, as soon as I slammed the book shut, my understanding of G.H.’s story began to take on an almost-corporeal reality. Trying to put this into words is a slippery thing. What I was beginning to appreciate was that I could not consider Lispector’s philosophical concerns for any length of time without losing my grasp on those concerns, yet I could somehow feel them, sense the substance of them in my own mind, in those deep pools of thought where language doesn’t quite reach, and which words can’t express.
— Emma Komlos-Hrobsky
Lispector's prose is unforgettable... still startling by the end because of Lispector's unsettling forcefulness.
A lyrical, stream of consciousness meditation on the nature of time, the unreliability of language, the divinity of God, and the threat of hell.
One of 20th-century Brazil’s most intriguing and mystifying writers.
I had a sort of missionary urge with her... but I started thinking, even when I was 19: How can I help this person reach the prominence she deserves?
A penetrating genius.
— Donna Seaman