The Hour of the Star review

Looking for books from Brazil on the library’s shelves, I found one small and thin book. Finally not the big and long books I stuck with from the last time. I got to read the description and one sentence especially got into me. “There is a right to shout, so I shout.”

Originally selected for the  A to Z 2014 World Books Challenge, but it’s also suitable for 2014 Full House Reading Challenge and Around the World in 12 Books.

The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector

Godzina gwiazdy by Clarice Lispector

Author: Clarice Lispector

Original Title: A hora da estrela
English Title: The Hour of the Star
Polish Title: Godzina gwiazdy (reviewed version)

Originally published in: 1977
Published in Poland in: 1987, Kraków

Publisher: Wydawnictwo Literackie
ISBN: 83-08-01850-5
Pages: 100

About the Author

1920-1977, Brazilian writer and journalist. Born in Jewish family in Ukraine, her family moved to Brazil during her infancy.

 About the Book

Last book, written shortly before her death. There is a 1985 film based on it, also called “The Hour of the Star”. The film won Berlin International Film Festival in 1986.

The story revolves around a nameless (in the first half of book) girl from Northeastern Brazil (poor rural areas), living now in Rio de Janeiro. Her story is told by Rodrigo S. M. who just glimpsed her on the street.


I, Rodrigo S. M. A traditional tale for I have no desire to be modish and invent colloquialisms  under the guise of originality. So I shall attempt, contrary to my normal method, to write a story with a beginning, a middle and a ‘grand finale’ followed by silence and falling rain. (…) What I am writing is something more than mere invention; it is my duty to relate everything about this girl among thousands of others like her. It is my duty, however unrewarding, to confront her with her existence. For one has a right to shout.

Quote taken from English version available on Amazon.  The quote is different from Polish version which I read. For example the sentence of “It is my duty…” sounds totally different, something like this:

Do moich powinności należy odsłonięcie jej życia, choćbym nawet uczynił to niezdarnie.

(My translation: It is my duty to uncover her life, even if I would do it clumsily.)

I have mixed feelings, but I’ll still review the Polish version.

My Opinion

The Polish version I read was great. One of the best books this year. It wasn’t too long, it got my attention from the beginning. It wasn’t easy to read and took me a long time to read (compared to the number of pages) but it was definitely worth it.

The harsh realisation you get from reading it, apart from the reality of life of a poor girl, is that she’s always described by men around her, and she doesn’t even have a self-consciousness or a voice of her own. Kinda depressing, but still often valid around the world. There are many topics brought up in this book, but listing them is pointless, you can see by yourself and see which topics resonate with you the most.

The book doesn’t have a happy ending or sad ending. The ending is rather happy but you need to read the whole book to understand it.

I’m very surprised that a book about such an ordinary (common) girl could be so interesting. It’s thanks to the style of the writer, I think, and the strange character of the narrator, with his own “quirks”.

My opinion: 9.5/10

Did you read the book? What do you think about it?

Around the World in 12 Books 2014 ChallengeSeasoned Traveller’s 5 out of 12 books read.



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