Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, The Hen by Clarice Lispector

“I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort”
― Clarice Lispector, A Hora Da Estrela

I rode my bike to the grocery store today – we only needed a couple things: a dozen eggs and one jalapeño pepper. It was raining and surprisingly cold, but I rode my bike anyway. While I was locking up, next to me a woman was in her car, her head covered in plastic, carefully reaching out and grabbing stuff from her cart. Even though it was only a sprinkle and felt good after a hot Texas summer, she was being very careful not to let any of the rain touch her. She looked at me as water dripped off my foam helmet like I had lost my mind.

Unfortunately, when I was about to enter the store the strap on my mask broke and I didn’t have a spare so I rode back home empty-panniered. Then I found a jalapeño in the crisper and nobody really needed eggs so I stayed home and read my weekly allowance of The Brothers Karamazov.

Today’s flash fiction is an odd little bird from an author I have been reading pretty regularly.

The Hen by Clarice Lispector


A Month of Short Stories 2017, Day 1 – Love (“Amor”) by Clarice Lispector

(click to enlarge)

Over several years, for the month of June, I wrote about a short story that was available online each day of the month…. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.

Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year – In September this time… because it is September.

Today’s story, for day 1 – Love (“Amor”), by Clarice Lispector.

Read it online here:

Love (“Amor”) From The Complete Stories; Translated by Katrina Dodson By CLARICE LISPECTOR

Ana’s children were good, something true and succulent. They were growing up, taking their baths, demanding for themselves, misbehaved, ever more complete moments. The kitchen was after all spacious, the faulty stove gave off small explosions.
—-from Love, by Clarice Lispector

I don’t know where I first heard of Clarice Lispector and her short stories… it was surprisingly recent. She is considered one of the masters of the form from Brazil. I checked out a book of her stories, translated into English, of course, from the library and am working through them.

Her work has that surreal quality that translated stories usually have – especially the ones from Latin America. The emotional knowledge is so subtle, acute, and accurate, it is almost painfully real and exciting fantasy at the same time. It makes me wish I could write like that.

Today’s story, Love, shows that there is nothing more delicate and unbalanced than an ordinary modern family life. Anything can tip the cart over – even something as simple as a blind man chewing gum.