Perto do coraçao selvagem / Near to the Wild Heart
Novel , 1944
Near to the Wild Heart, published in Rio de Janeiro in 1943, introduced Brazil to what one writer called "Hurricane Clarice": a twenty-three-year-old girl who wrote her first book in a tiny rented room and then baptized it with a title taken from Joyce: "He was alone, unheeded, near to the wild heart of life." The book was an unprecedented sensation — the discovery of genius. Narrative epiphanies and interior monologue frame the life of Joana, from her middle-class childhood through her unhappy marriage and its dissolution to transcendence, when she proclaims: "I shall arise as strong and comely as a young colt." Joana, a young woman very much in the mode of existential contemporaries like Camus and Sartre, ponders the meaning of life, the freedom to be one's self, and the purpose of existence. Near to the Wild Heart does not have a conventional narrative plot. It instead recounts flashes from the life of Joana, between her present, as a young woman, and her early childhood. These focus, like most of Lispector's works, on interior, emotional states.