For those who like her writing, there's a new biography of Clarice Lispector very positively reviewed in the NY Review of Books
, from where I quote this interesting take on how she viewed translations of her works:
"She was a quiet torment to her translators, insisting that in her virtually untranslatable prose every comma be preserved. Ronald Sousa prefaces his translation of her 1964 novel The Passion According to G.H.
by throwing up his hands. Lispector violated traditional expectations and
Such violation has robbed me of useful ways of structuring my presentation.... This result may or may not be called "translation," but then that undecidability is only fitting in regard to a work that may or may not be called a "novel."
First-time readers might be advised to start with the Giovanni Pontiero translations, which have been enthusiastically praised and do seem successfully to capture a real voice on the page. Oddly, Lispector's own translations—of Agatha Christie, of Anne Rice—were widely considered careless and second-rate and done for the rather little money they paid.
Much of this is set forth in the impressively researched new biography of Lispector Why This World
by Benjamin Moser, a cultural journalist who for one intense period of his life forsook his day jobs (at Random House and Harper's) and made Lispector his raison d'être, traveling the world to every place she had been, and creating an international history of the years 1920, when Lispector was born, to 1977, when she died. Moser's is a well-written and remarkable book, and almost everything I can now say about Lispector's life derives from it."