The Besieged City (Paperback)

The Besieged City By Clarice Lispector, Benjamin Moser (Editor), Johnny Lorenz (Translated by) Cover Image

The Besieged City (Paperback)

By Clarice Lispector, Benjamin Moser (Editor), Johnny Lorenz (Translated by)



Now in paperback, The Besieged City—Clarice Lispector’s electrifying third novel—tells of a shallow girl becoming a desirable but highly materialistic woman in a rough-and-ready town

Rich with visions, miraculous horses, and linguistic ecstasy, The Besieged City stars Lucrécia. Clarice Lispector’s heroine is a materialistic girl free of the burden of thought: “Behold, behold, all of her, terribly physical, one of the objects.”

“The object—the thing,” Lispector once remarked, “always fascinated me and in a certain sense destroyed me. In my book The Besieged City I speak indirectly about the mystery of the thing. The thing is a specialized and immobilized animal.”

Clarice Lispector (1920–1977), the greatest Brazilian writer of the twentieth century, has been called “astounding” (Rachel Kushner), “a penetrating genius” (Donna Seaman, Booklist), and “one of the twentieth century’s most mysterious writers” (Orhan Pamuk).

General editor of the new translations of Clarice Lispector’s complete works at New Directions, BENJAMIN MOSER is the author of Why This World: The Biography of Clarice Lispector, and Sontag: Her Life and Work, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. His new book, The Upside-Down World: Meetings with the Dutch Masters, will be published in October.

Johnny Lorenz, son of Brazilian immigrants to the United States, was born in 1972. He received his doctorate in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000, and he is an associate professor at Montclair State University. In 2013, he was a finalist for Best Translated Book for his translation of A Breath of Life by Clarice Lispector (New Directions). His book of original poems, Education by Windows, was published in 2018 by Poets & Traitors Press; it includes his translations of the poet Mario Quintana, for which he received a Fulbright grant. He has published articles on Brazilian literature in journals such as Luso-Brazilian Review and Modern Fiction Studies. He is also the translator of Lispector's The Besieged City (New Directions).
Product Details ISBN: 9780811238502
ISBN-10: 0811238504
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: June 11th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English
Lispector made her own rules, free of the world’s constraints, and here, in her third novel, an ordinary story and apparently shallow protagonist are no impediments to formidable experiment...Having read her, one feels different, elated.
— Booklist Online

In her third novel, acclaimed Brazilian luminary Lispector merges the personal with the mythopoetic in the story of a town transforming into a city and a girl observing it. Lucrécia Neves lives with her widowed mother in São Geraldo, a place ‘already mingling some progress with the smell of the stable.’ Dazzling [with] unexpected flashes of humor (‘Something without interest to anyone was happening, surely “real life”’). But what matters most is Lucrécia’s way of seeing, which she continues even in sleep, ‘rubbing, forging, polishing, lathing, sculpting, the demented master-carpenter—preparing palely every night the material of the city.’ Her visionary function is essential and timeless. Dream-like, dense, original, [and with] a cumulative power. Highly recommended.
— Kirkus (starred)

Lispector should be on the shelf with Kafka and Joyce.
— Los Angeles Times

— Carolyn Kellogg - Los Angeles Times

Lispector’s prose lilts and sways, its rhythm shakes at once with closeness and distance. The sensory power Lispector is able to draw from her sentences is here given free rein and the descriptive character of the text is wild with excess, seeking to imbue everything simultaneously with solidity, material presence, and transience, fluidity.
— Daniel Fraser - Music & Literature

Lispector’s novel offers a pristine view of an ordinary life, told in her forceful, one-of-a-kind voice that captures isolated moments with poetic intensity.
— Publishers Weekly

Underneath Lispector’s inventive, modernist style is a poignant and radical depiction of a young woman navigating a patriarchal society.
— The Paris Review

I’m really obsessed by this writer from Brazil, Clarice Lispector. I love her because she writes whole novels where not one thing happens—she describes the air. I think she’s such a great, great novelist.
— W Magazine

Utterly original and brilliant, haunting and disturbing.
— Colm Tóibín

Better than Borges.
— Elizabeth Bishop