In Search of the Thing-Itself

The Complete Stories
Clarice Lispector
Translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson
Edited and introduced by Benjamin Moser
New Directions, 2015

“I have found one contemporary I like,” Elizabeth Bishop wrote from Rio de Janeiro. “She has a wonderful name—Clarice Lispector.” Today’s English-language readers of Lispector, bewitched by recent translations of novels such as The Passion According to G.H. and The Hour of the Star, might be surprised to learn that Bishop admired the Brazilian for her work in a different form. “Her 2 or 3 novels I don’t think are so good but her short stories are almost like the stories I’ve always thought should be written about Brazil—Tchekovian, slightly sinister and fantastic,” Bishop wrote. “Actually I think she is better than J.L. Borges—who is good, but not all that good!”