but thousands of bells clanged inside me

Dear Clarice, Rereading your stories after so long makes me feel as if I were looking through colour-stained glass: each story comes with the shadow of my previous reading of it. The shadow of how it felt like at the time; the stain of what I had not understood properly then, and do now; or…

Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector (born Chaya, December 10, 1920 – December 9, 1977) was a Brazilian writer. She was born to a Jewish family in Chechelnyk, Podolia, a shtetl in what today is Ukraine.  Having suffered in the pogroms during the Russian Civil War that followed the dissolution of the Russian Empire, her family fled to Romania, from where…

There you go again, narrating through a prism of pain

Dear Tatiana, Your novel The House in Smyrna (tr. Alison Entrekin, 2015; originally published in Portuguese in 2007) was a puzzling read for me. And not a confortable one – which, I may add, I generally take as a good reading experience, like a cup of strong coffee, served without sugar and very hot, and drunk…

Tatiana Salem Levy

Tatiana Salem Levy (1979) is a Brazilian writer. She was born in Portugal, while her parents were in exile, during the Brazilian dictatorship. Tatiana is of Jewish-Turkish descent. She studied literature at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, and holds a PhD in Literature. Awards Winner of…

wade/ through black jade/of the crow-blue mussel-shells

Dear Adriana, As in your previous books, Crow Blue (2013, tr. Alison Entrekin, originally published in Portuguese in 2010) also depicts  a journey, through which the protagonists – unable to move beyond painful events in the past – are led to undertake some kind of personal rite of passage. After losing her mother at the age…

summer rains / trace of a poem card/ torn off the wall

Dear Adriana, Your novel Hut of Fallen Persimmons (2011, tr. Sarah Green. Original title Rakushisha, 2007) caught my attention from its title and its starting point. Mukai Kioray (1651 – 1704), a Japanese haikai poet who was a close disciple of Matsuo Bashō (1644 – 1694), lived in the “Hut of Fallen Persimmons” (or “Rakushisha”) on the outskirts of Kyoto. Because he had…

A pale mark left by a picture that was removed after years living on the same wall.

Dear Adriana, Your second novel, originally published in Portuguese in 2001, borrows its title from James Whistler’s painting Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl (1862), which grows in importance and offers new perspectives on the characters, as the novel unfolds. As suggested by this artifice, the combination of painting, music and literature sets the…

Adriana Lisboa

Adriana Lisboa (Rio de Janeiro, 1970) is a Brazilian writer. She is the author of six novels, and has also published poetry, short stories and books for children. Her second novel, Symphony in White, won the José Saramago Prize of Literature. Her stories and poems have appeared in Granta, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Brooklyn Rail, Litro Magazine, The…