I thought I was going to be seriously behind the curve by not mentioning the NBCC’s Thirty Books in Thirty Days until now, but closer inspection reveals that the aforementioned days aren’t all in a row, so we’re good. Between now and March 11, when the National Book Critic’s Circle Award winners are announced, Critical Mass will be highlighting 30 of the finalists in each category: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Criticism, Biography, and Autobiography.
Called simply Clarice by those who adored and admired her in Brazil and throughout Latin America, Lispector worked hard to fuel her legendary status up until the year of her death from cervical cancer in 1977. No one knew better than she about the benefits of constructing an elusive and mysterious persona that generated interest and intrigue at a time when men dominated the literary scene. If males were going to claim the public, she was going to claim the public imagination. This strategy, however, also had a drawback: namely, that the readership fell in love more with the idea of a beautiful woman named Clarice than with the writer’s ideas.
That’s a bit of double allure there, then—not only does Moser’s biography sound interesting, but I’m thinking Lispector’s books should be worth tracking down as well. I expect similar temptations from the NBCC over the next month, and I have to say I’m looking forward to them.