Clarice Lispector: The Passion according to G.H.

Кларѝс(и) Лиспектор (10 дек. 1922 – 9 дек. 1977) стигна до мен през препоръката на приятел от Бразилия. До този момент дори нямах представа, че в България вече са излезли две нейни книги – сборниците разкази “Чуждестранният легион” (изд. Жанет 45, 2017) и “Семейни връзки” (двуезично издание, изд. Огледало, 2003).

Не намерих много отзиви за нея, но си заслужава да се видят този по-обощаващ на Амелия Личева, както и относително по-подробна биографична информация в Писателките. Останалите (всъщност не малобройни) са за “Чуждестранния легион”, с който скоро ще се запозная и аз отблизо.

Авторката е една от най-известните писатели в Бразилия, част от акедемичния филологичски курикулум и едно от имената, включени посмъртно от ЮНЕСКО в корпуса писатели от Южна Америка.

По произход от еврейско семейство в Украйна, Лиспектор и семейството ѝ бягат в Бразилия през 1922.

Прозата на Кларис Лиспектор в “Paixão segundo G.H.” е вглеждане в реалността през вдлъбнатината на интровертното говорене. Героинята Г.Х. изпада в едно особено състояние, в което съзнанието ѝ прескача битовостта. Изреченията ѝ са силни и образни, наситени. Забелязаните детайли са не просто посочени, а поставени в по-многомерен контекст, придаден им е обем чрез едно почни философско отделяне, отстраняване. 

Отстраняване и остраняване, и двете могат да се открият в прозата на Лиспектор. Докато се вглежда на дълбоко и анализира себе си, авторката в същото време търпи метаморфоза, която я превръща в нещо друго, в не-нея-самата. Това наблюдение сякаш се просмуква през целия разказа, през всички моноложни фрагменти. Преобразуване, което е и едно от основните ядра на романа. Фрагментарните глави са одържат не само от непрекъснатия монолог, но също и от повторението на последното изречение във всяка част в началото на следващата. Така се създвава един особен ритъм на вътрешно говорене, но и на обтегната, ненасечена структура.

Романът е възхваляван заради мистиката си, заради южноамериканската си свръхреалност, заради поетичността на философското изливане, с което потокът на съзнанието завлича читателя. В интервю в края на живота си Лиспектор споделя, че именно такъв вид роман до голяма степен е отразявал предпочитанията и очакванията ѝ от литературата.

Не можех да не си мисля за Кафка и метаморфозата му, която тук се обиграва по един по-друг, можем да кажем, по-женски начин, с всички интуитивни нишки, избухващи като облак от привидно жалковатата и тривиална житейска ситуация, в която Лиспектор поставя героинята си (или себе си?). Не можех да не си спомянм за Бруно Шулц и тежнеещата реалност, която то пресъздава с усещането за нещо огромно, неясно и наближаващо. При Кл. Лиспектор реалността е до голяма степен престъпена, очите на героинята (с гласа на авторката) гледа в невидимите връзки между нещата, опитва се не само да обговори, но и да приживее същностни положения като човек, бог, ад.

Своеобразния мистически екстаз, в който героинята Г.Х. говори, ми напомни до някаква степен за ясновидеца в “Лотарията” на Корта̀сар, чиито глави в още по-екстатично-опиатен стил разнищваха случващото се в романа от една силно мета- и парафизична перспектива.

По-долу прилагам всичко, което ме впечатли в книгата.

I’m searching, I’m searching. I’m trying to understand. Trying to give what I’ve lived to somebody else and I don’t know to whom, but I don’t want to keep what I lived. I don’t know what to do with what I lived, I’m afraid of that profound disorder. I don’t trust what happened to me. Did something happen to me that I, because I didn’t know how to live it, lived as something else?

I lost something that was essential to me, and that no longer is. I no longer need it, as if I’d lost a third leg that up till then made it impossible for me to walk but that turned me into a stable tripod. I lost that third leg. And I went back to being a person I never was. I went back to having something I never had: just two legs. I know I can only walk with two legs. But I feel the useless absence of that third leg and it scares me, it was the leg that made me something findable by myself, and without even having to look for myself.

Give me your unknown hand, since life is hurting me, and I don’t know how to speak — reality is too delicate, only reality is delicate, my unreality and my imagination are heavier.

How can I explain it to you: suddenly the whole world that was me shriveled up in fatigue, I could no longer bear on my shoulders — what? — and was succumbing to a tension that I didn’t know had always been mine. They were already starting, and I still didn’t realize it, the first signs inside me of a landslide, of underground limestone caves, collapsing beneath the weight of stratified archeological layers — and the weight of the first landslide was bringing down the corners of my mouth, making my arms fall. What was happening to me? I’ll never understand but there must be someone who understands. And it’s inside myself that I must create that someone who will understand. And though I’d gone into the room, I seemed to have gone into nothing. Even once inside it, I was still somehow outside. As if the room weren’t deep enough to hold me and I had to leave pieces of myself in the hallway, in the worst rejection to which I’d ever fallen victim: I didn’t fit.

Then, before understanding, my heart went gray as hair goes gray. Meeting the face I had put inside the opening, right near my eyes, in the half-darkness, the fat cockroach had moved. My cry was so muffled that only the contrasting silence let me know I hadn’t screamed. The scream had stayed beating in my chest.

I, neutral cockroach body, I with a life that at last doesn’t escape me because I finally see it outside of myself — I am the roach, I am my leg, I am my hair, I am the section of whitest light on the plaster of the wall — I am every hellish piece of me — life in me is so demanding that if they hacked me up, like a lizard, the pieces would keep trembling and squirming. I am the silence engraved on a wall, and the oldest butterfly flutters and finds me: the same as always. From birth to death is when I call myself human, and shall never actually die. But that isn’t eternity, it’s damnation. How luxurious this silence is. It’s built up of centuries. It’s a silence of a roach that’s looking. The world looks at itself in me. Everything looks at everything, everything lives the other; in this desert things know things. Things know things so much that that’s . . . that’s what I’ll call forgiveness, if I want to save myself in the human world. It’s forgiveness itself. Forgiveness is an attribute of living matter.

Life was taking revenge on me, and its revenge was no more than coming back, nothing more. In every case of madness something came back. The possessed are not possessed by what is coming but by what is coming back. Sometimes life comes back.

And in that world I was coming to know, there are several ways that mean seeing: one a looking at the other without seeing him, one possessing the other, one eating the other, one just being in a place and the other being there too: all that also means seeing.

But hell had already taken me, my love, the hell of unhealthy curiosity. I was already selling my human soul, because seeing had already begun to consume me in pleasure, I was selling my future, I was selling my salvation, I was selling us.

Pray for me, my mother, since not transcending is a sacrifice, and transcending used to be my human effort at salvation, there was an immediate usefulness in transcending. Transcending is a transgression. But staying inside whatever is, that demands that I be fearless!

The ethics of the moral is keeping it secret. Freedom is a secret. Though I know that, even in secret, freedom doesn’t take care of guilt. But one must be greater than guilt. The tiny divine part of me is greater than my human guilt. The God is greater than my essential guilt. So I prefer the God, to my guilt. Not to excuse myself and to flee but because guilt diminishes me.

I think I made it all up, none of this existed! But if I made up what happened to me yesterday — who can guarantee that I didn’t also invent my entire life prior to yesterday?

For the inexpressive is diabolic. A person who isn’t committed to hope lives the demonic. A person who has the courage to cast off feelings discovers the ample life of an extremely busy silence, the same that exists in the cockroach, the same in the stars, the same in the self — the demonic precedes the human. And the person who sees that presentness burns as if seeing the God. Prehuman divine life is of a presentness that burns.


The joy of getting lost is a Sabbath joy. Getting lost is a dangerous finding. I was experiencing in that desert the fire of things: and it was a neutral fire.


And I saw, while the silence of those who really had died was invading me as ivy invades the mouths of the stone lions.

The danger of meditating is accidentally beginning to think, and thinking is no longer meditating, thinking leads to an objective.


I didn’t need the climax or the revolution or anything more than the pre-love, which is so much happier than love.

The truth doesn’t make sense, the greatness of the world restricts me. What I probably asked for and finally got, left me needy as a child wandering the earth alone. So needy that only the love of the entire universe for me could console me and overwhelm me, only a love that trembled the very egg-cell of things with what I am calling a love. With what I can really only call but without knowing its name.

While writing and speaking I will have to pretend that someone is holding my hand. Oh, at least at the beginning, just at the beginning. As soon as I can let go, I will go alone. In the meantime I must hold this hand of yours — though I can’t invent your face and your eyes and your mouth. Yet even amputated, that hand doesn’t scare me. Its invention comes from such an idea of love as if the hand really were attached to a body that I don’t see only because I can’t love enough. I cannot imagine a whole person because I am not a whole person. And how can I imagine a face without knowing what expression I need? As soon as I can release your warm hand, I’ll go alone and with horror. The horror will be my responsibility until the metamorphosis is complete and the horror becomes light. Not the light born of a desire for beauty and moralism, as before without realizing I intended; but the natural light of whatever exists, and it is that natural light that terrorizes me. Though I know that the horror — I am the horror in the face of things.


Error is one of my inevitable ways of working.


because I don’t want to confirm myself in what I lived — in the confirmation of me I would lose the world as I had it, and I know I don’t have the fortitude for another. If I confirm my self and consider myself truthful, I’ll be lost because I won’t know where to inlay my new way of being — if I go ahead with my fragmentary visions, the whole world will have to be transformed in order for me to fit within it.

I could no longer stand it and am confessing that I already knew a truth that never had use or application, and that I would be afraid to apply, since I’m not grown-up enough to know how to use a truth without destroying myself.

The form of living is a secret so secret that it is the silent crawling of a secret. It’s a secret in the desert.

Because inside myself I saw what hell is like. Because inside myself I saw what hell is like.


Then — then through the door of damnation, I ate life and was eaten by life. I was understanding that my kingdom is of this world. And I understood that through the hell inside me. Because inside myself I saw what hell is like. Because inside myself I saw what hell is like.

Not having had children left me spasmodic as if confronting an addiction denied.

And because my soul is so unlimited that it is no longer me, and because it is so beyond me — because I am always remote to myself, I am as unreachable to myself as a star is unreachable to me.

The mystery of human destiny is that we are inevitable, but we have the freedom to carry out or not our inevitability: it depends on us to carry out our inevitable destiny. While inhuman beings, like the roach, carry out their own complete cycle, without ever erring because they do not choose. But it depends on me to freely become whatever I inevitably am.

Trial. Now I understand what a trial is. Trial: it means that life is trying me. But trial: means that I too am trying. And trying can become an ever more insatiable thirst. Wait for me: I’m going to pull you out of the hell into which I descended.

But I was like a person who, having been born blind and not having anyone around who could see, that person could not even form a question about vision: she wouldn’t know that seeing existed. But, since vision actually did exist, even if that person didn’t know about it and had never even heard of it, that person would be motionless, restless, alert, not knowing how to ask about something she didn’t know existed — she would feel the lack of something that should have been hers.

I had risked the world in search of the question that follows the answer.

Because the dark is not illuminable, the dark is a way of being: the dark is in the vital node of the dark, and you cannot touch the vital node of a thing.

Ah, the violent loving unconsciousness of whatever exists surpasses the possibility of my consciousness.

My eagerness is my most initial hunger: I am pure because I am eager.

Hope is a child not yet born, only promised, and that bruises.

It is not for us that the cow’s milk flows, but we drink it. The flower was not made for us to look at it or for us to smell its fragrance, and we look at it and smell it. The Milky Way does not exist for us to know of its existence, but we know of it. And we know God. And what we need from Him, we elicit. (I don’t know what I am calling God, but thus he may be called.) If we only know very little of God, that is because we need little: we only have of Him whatever is inevitably enough for us, we only have of God whatever fits inside us. (Nostalgia is not for the God we are missing, it is the nostalgia for ourselves who are not enough; we miss our impossible grandeur — my unreachable present is my paradise lost.)

And He not only allows us, but He needs to be used, being used is a way of being understood. (In all religions God demands to be loved.) In order for us to have, all we are missing is to need. Needing is always the supreme moment. As the most daring joy between a man and a woman comes when the greatness of needing is such that we feel in agony and fright: without you I could not live. The revelation of love is a revelation of neediness — blessed be the poor in spirit for theirs is the lacerating kingdom of life.

Beauty was a soft enticement for me, it was the way that I, weak and respectful, adorned the thing in order to tolerate its nucleus.

Bear with my telling you that God is not pretty. And that because He is neither a result nor a conclusion, and everything we find pretty is sometimes only because it is already concluded. But what is ugly today shall be seen centuries from now as beauty, because it shall have completed one of its movements.

I do not want beauty, I want identity. Beauty would be an accretion, and now I shall have to dispense with it. The world does not have the intention of beauty, and that once would have shocked me: in the world no aesthetic plane exists, not even the aesthetic plane of goodness, and that once would have shocked me. The thing is much more than that. The God is greater than goodness with its beauty.


The gradual deheroization of oneself is the true labor one works at beneath the apparent labor, life is a secret mission. So secret is the true life that not even to me, who am dying of it, can the password be entrusted, I die without knowing wherefrom. And the secret is such that, only if the mission manages to be accomplished shall I, in a flash, perceive that I was born in charge of it — every life is a secret mission.



The human condition is the passion of Christ.

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