The Hour of the Star Background

The Hour of the Star Background

The Hour of the Star (1977) is Brazilian author Clarice Lispector's novel which was released posthumously and tells the story, in the words of the author, "the story of a girl who was so poor that all she ate was hot dogs." While this description is simplistic, the plot of the book isn't much more complicated than that. The novel tells the story of Macabéa, a poor and uneducated girl from the provincial Northeast of Brazil. It tells of her struggle to survive, struggle to overcome societal obstacles, such as a lack of education and sexism.

The Hour of the Star deals with some deep, impactful, and rich themes. It deals with conflict between different regions of Brazil, the crippling nature of poverty, sexism, the trouble brought about by a lack of education, and misery brought about by the aforementioned factors.

The novel was released in 1977, shortly after Lispector's death. It received tremendous critical acclaim upon release with one critic, Barbara Mujica, saying that the novel was "the last and perhaps greatest novel of the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector." Says critic Katherine Boo: "I felt physically jolted by genius." This is undoubtedly an important novel, even though it clocks in at a light ninety-six pages. It is rich, interesting, and observant.

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