Água Viva (Paperback)

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Água Viva Cover Image
By Clarice Lispector, Stefan Tobler (Translated by), Benjamin Moser (Preface by)
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Staff Reviews

Like drifting naked on a foggy ocean while a storm blows in, or receiving tiny, repeated shocks behind the eyes. Lispector grapples with issues of God, time, death, authorship, and the insufficiency of language. This slim volume will send you reeling for weeks.

— Sarah G.

This book is so sharp and thin it's more knife than novel. It's poetry. It's philosophy. It's an existential roller coaster. It's like getting struck by lightning. Be careful. You may never be the same.

— Landon


Lispector at her most philosophically radical.

A meditation on the nature of life and time, Água Viva (1973) shows Lispector discovering a new means of writing about herself, more deeply transforming her individual experience into a universal poetry. In a body of work as emotionally powerful, formally innovative, and philosophically profound as Clarice Lispector’s, Água Viva stands out as a particular triumph.

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).

Born in Belem, Brazil, in 1974, Stefan Tobler is a translator from Portuguese and German. He won English PEN’s Writers in Translation prize. His translation of Raduan Nassar's A Cup of Rage was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize.

Benjamin Moser, the author of Sontag and Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, is the editor of ND’s Lispector translation series.

Praise For…

This is a fictional account of a woman’s attempt to escape from conventional time and exist instead in a perpetually renewing “this instant-now”. Lispector pursued this same seemingly impossible aim through a number of books – getting closer and closer to the confused and thrilling feeling of fully conscious aliveness. Água Viva is where she succeeds most amazingly.

— Toby Litt

Brilliant and unclassifiable… Glamorous, cultured, moody, Lispector is an emblematic twentieth-century artist who belongs in the same pantheon as Kafka and Joyce.
— Edmund White

This is a book that, like a good painting, can be picked up anywhere and that will continue to reward renewed contact over months and years of acquaintance.
— Scott Esposito

Her images dazzle even when her meaning is most obscure, and when she is writing of what she despises she is lucidity itself.  

One of 20th-century Brazil’s most intriguing and mystifying writers.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780811219907
ISBN-10: 0811219909
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: June 13th, 2012
Pages: 88
Language: English
Series: New Directions Books