The Besieged City

Rivka Galchen writes:

C larice Lispector​ was born in 1920 to Jewish parents, in the small town of Chechelnik in Ukraine. It was hoped that the pregnancy would cure her mother’s syphilis, contracted when she was raped by a gang of Russian soldiers. The attempted cure failed. In 1921, the family made their way to Romania and eventually to Brazil. There, her father pushed a cart through the poorest parts of Recife, buying and selling used clothing. Her mother, by now partially paralysed, sat in a rocking chair on the porch. She died when Clarice was nine; her father died following gall bladder surgery before she was twenty.

(LRB 21 Mar 2020)

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