The Chick Who Read Clarice Lispector Too Much

I was standing at the bus stop near the University, re-reading Anne Rice's “Interview With the Vampire” to pass the time. The first time I read it was back in the year 2000 and I wanted to read her complete works, since I only knew about that one book.

As I was saying, there I was with my face buried in the book, reading about the tragic adventure of Louis and Babette, when a girl stopped next to me and said, “Good morning.” 

I said, “Good morning to you too,” noticing that she was holding Clarice Lispector's “The Passion According to G.H.” so I decided to make some small talk.

“Oh, Clarice Lispector! That's cool. I used to be one of Clarice's assiduous readers, but I've been reading her a lot less recently. Well, barely, to tell you the truth.”

She smiled at me. “How come you're reading Clarice a lot less?”

“I don't know,” I shrugged. “I must've got tired of it. Maybe it was just a phase. I'll probably go back to it after awhile.”

She nodded, looking at the cover of my book. “What are you reading, then?” she asked.

“Interview With the Vampire,” I answered.

She raised an eyebrow, as if confirming the conclusion she had already reached. “Ah, vampires are in right now.”

At first, I just frowned. Then I realized that there was indeed some contempt in the way she had said it.

“Exactly, it's so in right now,” I politely replied with a smile.

Her stance changed immediately. She had an air of superiority about her, puffing her chest up with pride. “In my opinion, that's just substandard literature,” she stated.

I looked the other way and noticed my bus was coming, so I didn't waste any time.

“Substandard literature, you say? Funny, that's not what Clarice thought. After all, she translated this book, you know?” I opened it up and showed her the first page: “Translation by Clarice Lispector.”

“Isn't that something?” I asked her.

She didn't say a word. Her mouth was just hanging open while she stared at the book, trying to understand what the name of her literary goddess was doing on the page of that “substandard literature.”

“Gotta go. Have fun with your reading,” I said when the bus stopped.

I got on the bus with a smile on my face and that wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Checkmate. Or touché, if you prefer.

What's the moral of the story? Well, before criticizing something, it doesn't hurt to learn a little bit more about it.

Note: The title of this short story is loosely inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's “The Man Who Knew Too Much”

ROBERTO DENSER is a writer, poet and journalist. 

He writes for Carta Potiguar magazine and keeps a personal blog, to which he posts regularly. 

In late 2013, he published his book of short stories A orquestra dos corações solitários [The Orchestra of Lonely Hearts], in which he explores the theme of loneliness as inspired by songs by The Beatles.

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