Friday, August 25, 2017

"The Smallest Woman in the World," by Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector (1920-1977)
At this coming Monday's meeting, we'll take a look at Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector's short story "The Smallest Woman in the World."

I've prepared a visual map of the story. In it you see that Lispector gives us two parallel narratives. They are (1) the story of French explorer Marcel Pretre and his amazing find, a 45-cm-tall and pregnant African pygmy woman whom Pretre dubs "Little Flower," and (2) the reactions of multiple readers of a Sunday newspaper supplement in which a photograph of Little Flower has been published.

My map serves as an x-ray of the bones of the story.  To get a feel for the organs, muscles and skin, we must immerse ourselves in Lispector's lush dense prose.

The comment by the final voice in the story, while "folding her newspaper in determination," is a real zinger at the end, and we'll talk about it.

Here is Tom's "Reader's Aid".  You can click on it to get an expanded view: