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MAGDALENA EDWARDS discusses her translation of CLARICE LISPECTOR'S THE CHANDELIER

The Chandelier (New Directions Publishing)

Translated from the Portugese by Benjamin Moser and Magdalena Edwards.

Fresh from the enormous success of her debut novel Near to the Wild Heart, Hurricane Clarice let loose something stormier with The Chandelier. In a body of work renowned for its potent idiosyncratic genius, The Chandelier in many ways has pride of place.“It stands out,”her biographer Benjamin Moser noted, “in a strange and difficult body of work, as perhaps her strangest and most difficult book.” Of glacial intensity, consisting almost entirely of interior monologues—interrupted by odd and jarring fragments of dialogue and action—the novel moves in slow waves that crest in moments of revelation. As Virginia seeks freedom via creation, the drama of her isolated life is almost entirely internal: from childhood, she sculpts clay figurines with “the best clay one could desire: white, supple, sticky, cold. She got a clear and tender material from which she could shape a world. How, how to explain the miracle …” While on one level simply the story of a woman’s life, The Chandelier’s real drama lies in Lispector’s attempt “to find the nucleus made of a single instant … the tenuous triumph and the defeat, perhaps nothing more than breathing.” The Chandelier pushes Lispector’s lifelong quest for that nucleus into deeper territories than any of her other amazing works.

While she compellingly evokes the journey out of childhood, as well as loneliness, self-determination, and the magnetic pull of family, Lispector's signature brilliance lies in the minutely observed gradations of her characters' feelings and of their elusive, half-formed thoughts.

"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, NPR  

"[L]yrical, sensual, philosophical…gorgeous, unsettling prose…"—The Nation  

"A vulnerable and moving performance—with a heart-stopping payoff….an undeniable quantity of genius."—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times  

"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, Los Angeles Review of Books  

"The Chandelier is an extraordinary book."—Reinaldo Laddaga, 4Columns  

" 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."—Nick Oxford, Music & Literature

Magdalena Edwards is a writer, translator, and actor based in Los Angeles, California. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from UCLA and a BA in Social Studies from Harvard. She was born in Santiago, Chile, and raised in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. You can find me on Instagram + Twitter @magda8lena & @magdalena_emar

Event date: 
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Chandelier Cover Image
By Clarice Lispector, Benjamin Moser (Translator), Magdalena Edwards (Translator)
$25.95
ISBN: 9780811223133
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - March 27th, 2018