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Why This World


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In Why This World Benjamin Moser unravels the turbulent life of an elusive genius- her birth in the nightmarish landscape of postwar Ukraine, her long exile in Brazil, her stormy personal life, her fierce talent, and how she transformed her struggles into a universally resonant art.

About the Author

Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World- A Biography of Clarice Lispector, a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award and his work bringing Clarice Lispector to international prominence was recognized with Brazil's State Prize for Cultural Diplomacy. He has published translations from several languages, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and worked as a books columnist for Harper's magazine and The New York Times Book Review. He lives in the Netherlands and France.


Clarice Lispector is one of the hidden geniuses of twentieth-century literature. Utterly original and brilliant, haunting and disturbing ... Benjamin Moser's biography is a great book about a Jewish heroine, filled with sympathy for what must remain hidden and what must be understood -- Colm Toibin
Everything about Lispector was unlikely: her great beauty, her early fame, her unique voice, her status as an icon to the Brazilians. In Moser, she has found a gifted young biographer, social historian, and prose stylist who is able to take her elusive measure. This book is enthralling.' -- Judith Thurman
Lispector is one of the summits of Latin American literature. Whether or not you know this delicate and powerful woman, this splendid biography deserves to be read. After finishing it, you will be in love with her' -- Guillermo Arriaga
Glamorous, cultured, moody, Lispector is an emblematic twentieth-century artist who belongs in the same pantheon as Kafka and Joyce. Benjamin Moser has recreated all the psychological and cultural context needed to understand this great writer, and brought to life her essentially tragic nature in all its complexity -- Edmund White

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