‘Before her birth was she an idea? Before her birth was she dead? And after her birth she would die? What a thin slice of watermelon.’

– Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star

‘Oh what sadness. What can you possibly do. Seated at the edge of the bed, blinking in resignation. How well you could see the moon on these summer nights. She leaned forward ever so slightly, indifferent, resigned. The moon. How well you could see it. The high, yellow moon gliding across the sky, poor little thing. Gliding, gliding… Up high, up high. The moon. Then the profanity exploded from her in a sudden fit of love: bitch, she said laughing.’

– Clarice Lispector, Daydream and Drunkenness of a Young Lady

And now – now all I can do is light a cigarette and go home. My God, I just remembered that we die. But – but me too?!
Don’t forget that for now it’s strawberry season.
Yes.

– Clarice Lispector, Hour of the Star

‘I write because I have nothing else to do in the world: I was left over and there is no place for me in the world of men. I write because I’m desperate and I’m tired, I can no longer bear the routine of being me and if not for the always novelty that is writing, I would die symbolically every day.’

– Clarice Lispector, Hour of the Star

“I think that when I’m not writing I’m dead. It’s very hard, that period between one work and another, and at the same time very necessary, for there to be a kind of emptying out of the head for something else to be born—if it is born. It’s all so uncertain.”

– Clarice Lispector

I want the following word: splendor, splendor is fruit in all its succulence, fruit without sadness. I want vast distances. My savage intuition of myself.’

– Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

“Any cat, any dog is worth more than literature.”

– Clarice Lispector (quoted in: Why This World by Benjamin Moser)

‘Right this instant I am asking the God to help me… The God must come to me since I have not gone to him. Let the God come: please… I am troubled and harsh and hopeless. Though I have love inside me.’

– Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

“Thirteen names, thirteen titles. It’s the story of a girl who was so poor that all she ate was hot dogs. That’s not the story, though. The story is about a crushed innocence, about an anonymous misery.”

– Clarice Lispector speaking about Hour of the Star

“I would like to have a mathematical device to measure precisely every millimeter I move ahead, and every millimeter I fall behind.”

– Clarice Lispector (quoted in: Why This World by Benjamin Moser)

“I screamed out of pain, and out of rage, since pain seems to be an offense to our physical wholeness. But I wasn’t stupid. I took advantage of the pain and screamed for the past and the present. I even screamed for the future, my God.”

– Clarice Lispector (quoted in: Why This World by Benjamin Moser)

‘But I noticed a first rumble like that of a heart beating beneath the earth. I quietly put my ear to the ground and heard summer forcing its way in and my heart beating beneath the earth. I quietly put my ear to the ground and heard summer forcing its way in and my heart beneath the earth – “nothing! I said nothing!” – and I felt the patient brutality with which the closed earth was opening inside in birth, and I knew with what weight of sweetness the summer was ripening a hundred thousand oranges and I knew that the oranges were mine. Because that is what I wanted.’

– Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

‘I can’t sum myself up because you can’t add up a chair and two apples. I am a chair and two apples. And I cannot be added up.’

– Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

‘I dedicate it to the very crimson color scarlet like my blood of a man in his prime and so I dedicate it to my blood… I dedicate it to the memory of my former poverty, when everything was more sober and dignified and I had never eaten lobster.’

– Clarice Lispector, Dedication by the Author in Hour of the Star

‘Whoever doesn’t know what God is, will never be able to know. In the past is when the God was learned of. It’s something already known.’

– Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

‘And I who have barely started my journey, I start it with a sense of tragedy, guessing toward which lost ocean my steps of life are leading. And madly I take control of the recesses of myself, my ravings suffocate me with so much beauty. I am before, I am almost, I am never. And all of this I won when I stopped loving you.’

– Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

‘I suspect that desperation is what made her so daring, even though she didn’t know she was desperate, she was on her last legs, face-down in the dirt.’

– Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star