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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm A Box

I'm A Box
by Natalia Carrero
(3/5 stars)

Obviously I'm not much of an expert on world literature because I had no idea Clarice Lispector was a real person. Which actually makes "I'm a Box" even creepier than I already thought it was. As a writer it's only natural to idolize another writer; I have a serious crush on novelist John Irving. But the extremes Nadila goes to in this book border on the pathological.

Nadila, like many twenty-somethings is confused and trying to "find herself." And like many would-be writers, she tries to write but finds she doesn't have anything to say. This is probably because she's not a very interesting person. By all accounts she spends most of her time hiding from the world, reading Lispector's books. Nor does she seem to realize that writing isn't the kind of thing you can force like a bowel movement; the harder you try to force it, the less you'll accomplish.

Of course it's not just enough for Nadila to simply read Lispector's books. She's not the kind of fan who just appreciates the author's works and maybe writes a letter or something. No, she's that kind of obsessed, crazy fan who wants to BECOME the author. She tries copying Lispector's handwriting, she imagines long conversations with the author, and even goes around in a T-shirt with a line of Lispector's scribbled on it. The next logical step would have been to find Lispector's grave and ransack it. Maybe she didn't have the money for that.

The novel includes a lot of sayings of Lispector's that seem like literary fortune cookies. Surprisingly there's not much from her actual books. There are also pictures of other things, including Nadila's T-shirt I mentioned. At times the narrative gets confusing because some of it is taking place in the 1990s but then things from the 2000s are mentioned so I'm not quite sure when something is taking place.

As I said, I found a lot of this to go from simple hero worship to creepy obsessiveness. It's fine to respect an author and her work, but trying to commune with her dead spirit, staging fake conversations, and trying to interject yourself into her books goes beyond the rational to the point where you need psychiatric help.

That is all.

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