Lorna Scott Fox writes:
The Apple in the Dark, like many of Lispector’s works from the 1960s on, confronts renunciation and detachment on the switchback path to an always deferred truth, and, citing Jesus this time, explores the closeness of the humble to the divine. Lispector’s alter egos are no longer hungry romantics, but martyrs. The plot, if it can be called one, is as follows. A man called Martin has committed a crime, the nature of which he has repressed. Fleeing a German who might be after him, he finds himself in a desert where he relinquishes the signs of his humanity – language, intelligence – in order to try to rebuild himself and his world, searching blindly for what it means to be a man after the liberation from conventional moral codes that his crime has signified. He wanders onto a farm run by an angry woman and her dreamy, deceitful young cousin, and is taken on as a labourer. Martin’s tenuous presence sets off painful changes in both women. He has an affair with the girl, a meeting of solipsistic desires and misunderstandings. The boss-woman turns him over to the police, via a ‘professor’ who represents everything Lispector despises about the glib, abstract knowledge authority uses as armour. By the end, God has been invented, forgiven and sent packing: only irrational hope and impersonal love remain.
(LRB 8 April 2010)
The Apple in the Dark
is the great Brazilian author Clarice Lispector’s most ambitious novel, both in terms of its length and the scope of its concerns. Believing that he has killed his wife, Martin flees into the Brazilian interior where he finds work on the farm of spinster Vitória and her cousin Ermelinda. The three play out a dreamlike, allegorical representation of agricultural life in which Martin, who comes to the farm dumb, learns to speak and is eventually arrested for his crime, while the relentless cycle of harvest and drought continues. It’s a meditation on man’s relationship with the soil, and his fundamental alienation from his fellow. This edition of The Apple in the Dark
is the first in English, translated from the Portuguese by Gregory Rabassa, who describes Lispector as ‘that rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf.’
Haus Publishing Limited | Hardback
445 pp. |ISBN: