The Terrible Duty

The terrible duty is to go to the end. – Clarice Lispector   The New York Times has a great review out on a new anthology of short stories written by Brazilian Clarice Lispector, one of my favorite writers. The quote above was Lispector’s response when someone compared her to Virginia Woolf, whom she thought a coward […]


The Brazilian Bovary

In honor of a recent trip to Rio, I revisited Dom Casmurro, the classic of Brazilian classics. Normally I don’t revisit classics because, no matter how relevant, their language has ceased to be current. But Dom Casmurro is the exception, and not just among its Brazilian peers. Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, its author, makes […]



  The idea was good, or nobody would have paid.   3.2 million in dollars today to claim the works of God below:   Black whale boulders beached by Guanabara bay,   Dripping buildings with coastal window holes,   Polka dot slums that cut the jungle into picture frames,   The blue white yellow gold […]