Hour of the Star (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 6 February 2014
Her finest book ― The Nation
Her searing last novel ... mesmerizing ― Vogue
About the Author
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- Publisher : Penguin Classics (6 February 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 96 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0141392037
- ISBN-13 : 978-0141392035
- Item Weight : 78 g
- Dimensions : 12.88 x 0.66 x 19.74 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #181,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from India
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Hour of the Star is a strange book, in the classic good-strange kind of way. It was one of her last few works published and it clearly to me is one of her best. I have read most of her books and every time I read a Lispector, my head is in a dizzy. It is like I cannot read anything else for days after reading her. That's the effect she has with her words, her characters, and the stories she chose to tell.
Hour of the Star is a small book with some very big ideas, all along the read. The book focuses on the life of an uneducated woman and her struggle to survive in a sexist society. Sadly, this doesn't sound very alien, does it? Hour of the Star is also about abject poverty and the class differences we witness every single day. At the same time, Lispector's Macabéa, the 19-year-old impoverished girl living in Rio de Janeiro doesn't feel for once that she leads a difficult life. The story is told through the narrator, Rodrigo S.M., and he starts the book with how to tell a story and what goes into it. The fourth wall is broken. Lispector's themes are broad and large in scope. In all of this, there is also a fortune-teller named Madame Carlota and you should read the book also for all of the secondary characters.
Lispector writes more so inwardly - there is a stream of consciousness and then there isn't. She constantly challenges the reader to read better, if there is something like that, if not then there should be. Macabéa's traits are so well-etched, that in all of the loving of Coca-Cola, Marilyn Monroe, and her boyfriend (scum, by the way), Lispector cuts away at her heroine's happiness, thereby jolting the reader's notions of poverty, identity, and love.
You can sense the dichotomy of the well-off Rodrigo writing about the poverty of Macabéa. It is this power-dynamics that Lispector chose to write about? Is it this Brazil that Lispector wanted to show her readers where the lives of the impoverished is for all to see and write about? Hour of the Star is a tragic comedy about a girl living in poverty and has literally no clue about her state. She certainly makes no impact on anyone and never even knows love, but she has her small joys and as a reader, I couldn't help but hoot for her through it all.
The brilliance of Hour of the Star is what each reader takes away from it. Don't be deceived by it's size of 96 pages. There is so much more to it. Moser's translation is crisp, and on point. There is no detailing that isn't needed to begin with. It is a story deeply, starkly, and told rooted in reality, with dreams that can never be fulfilled.
Top reviews from other countries
A book written by a women, writing as a male author who is writing about a poor Brazilian woman! Never read anything like this before.
interesting short story. Really slow burner and struggled to get into it whilst the male writer was rambling on about a lot of rubbish. But perhaps that was part of the point, to not really like or feel much for the male author. Got much better when it focused on macabea.
The Portuguese to Spanish translations were brilliant. Some really Interesting prose.
We read this as a book club. And none of us apart from one understood the potential link between the male author and macabea..... he is the one who hit her in the car. As soon as that is suggested it all makes so much more sense. The entire story was probably made up by him to validate himself into not feeling bad about killing her. But as he thought about it, he fought off the guilt and made up an entire story of her poor life. Eventually feeling like he has fallen in love with her which was actually his shame and guilt.
It’s useful to also note that this is probably not about women being mistreated in Brazil. It’s more about those that are poor being seen as worthless and being mistreated. At first I read it as inequality against women, but upon discussion and reflection, I understand it to be mostly about the poor and underprivileged.
Very sad story. But I like that she died full of happiness and hope.