From The Besieged City, a novel that will be published this month by New Directions. Lispector’s novel The Chandelier was published last year by New Directions. Edited by Benjamin Moser and translated from the Portuguese by Johnny Lorenz.
On one of his final business trips, instead of leaving his wife on Market Street, Mateus rented the little house on the island for her, hoping the sea would give her some color.
At the first excuse, because of a missing cheese, Lucrécia Neves Correia had fought with the maid and dismissed her. And finally—alone with her former careful way of living—she’d notice each creak of wood, keep an eye on the roses growing in the garden, do quick laps, and give sharp cries of recognition. At night the cut roses would dimly illuminate the bedroom and leave the woman sleepless; the waters beating on the distant beach wanted to transport her but the croaking of frogs was monitoring her from close by.
She’d fall asleep watchful as if dawn could find the house surrounded by horses. And it would resemble the first night of sleep after someone was buried.