un soplo de vida – A Breath of Life

Un soplo de vida – A Breath of Life

I must admit that the title drew me in because from a spiritual perspective, and as a long time kundalini yoga teacher, breathing is what gives us our life force or prana.

This is the last novel by Brazilian author Clarice Lispector. Published posthumously in Brazil in the late 70’s the book takes the form of a dialogue between a male author and his female creation Angela Pralini. I wonder what Lispector would have thought of it had she lived to see it published. 

Clarice Lipspector began this book in 1974 and finished in 1977 on the eve of her death. She was dying from ovarian cancer.

There was a mountain of fragments at her death. These fragments form a dialogue between this godlike author who infuses the breath of life into his creation which is the speaking, breathing & dying, Angela Pralini. 

It was assembled by Lispector’s friend Olga Borelli from the hundreds of fragments “written in agony.” Each paragraph takes time to mull over, for example:

“In every word a heart beats. Writing is that search for the intimate truth of life. Life that disturbs me and leaves my own trembling heart suffering in calculable pain that seems necessary for my maturity – maturity?  I’ve lived this long without it!”

“I write to save somebody’s life. Probably my own. Life is a kind of madness that death makes. Long live the dead because we live in them.”

These paragraphs feel like ethereal meditations. I read this book during the covid outbreak, which made it more intensified with the fragility of life all around.