Moving and profound,
This review is from: The Hour of the Star (Paperback)
Macabea is an underfed, unappreciated, ugly young woman living in the slums of metropolitan Brazil. Her existence is marked by cruelty and indifference, yet through her own naivety - or her desire - she manages to remain largely upbeat, accepting the cruel hand life has played her with alarmingly little fuss.
The story is told via a male narrator (a colleague of Macabea), who seems to want to tell her story. While this gives an interesting male/female mix in the narrative, it does mean that the first third of the book, where the narrator is flexing his muscles, are somewhat stop-start and rather unsatisfactory.
The book really gathers pace and emotion with the introduction of Macabea's abusive and troubling "boyfriend". Rude, obnoxious and in the end unfaithful, his barbs are brilliantly written by Lispector, who draws real emotion from the reader. The careful balance of male narrator, female lead and female author is, on the whole, well balanced. The contrast of the hope with which Macabea exists and her hopeless situation (both emotional and geographical) could not be more clear. A moving and profound book.