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'One of the very great writers of the last century' Guardian
'Lispector had an ability to write as though no one had ever written before' Colm Tóibín
'He'd wait for her, she knew that now. Until she learned'
Lóri yearns for love yet is scared of herself, and of connecting with another human. When she meets Ulisses, a Professor of Philosophy, she is forced to confront her fears. As both of them will learn, to be worthy of another person, they must first be fully themselves. The book of which Clarice Lispector said, 'I humanized myself', An Apprenticeship is about the ultimate unknowability of the other in a relationship, and what it means to love and be loved.
Translated by Stefan Tobler
Edited by Benjamin Moser with an Afterword by Sheila Heti
Lispector's dense and singular romance (after The Besieged City), first published in Brazil in 1969, arrives in a rich new translation from Tobler and illuminating afterword by Sheila Heti. L ri, a primary school teacher leading a solitary existence in Rio de Janeiro and unable to stomach her "bourgeois middle class" milieu, becomes captivated by the elusive Ulisses, a philosophy professor and self-described excellent teacher ("basically I like to hear myself talk about things that interest me," he explains). The two speak on the phone, meet for drinks, and visit a local swimming pool, but Ulisses tells L ri she's not ready for the relationship he wants, a claim that drives the bulk of Lori's stream-of-consciousness analysis ("she was bound to him because she wanted to be desired"). Ulisses speaks often of his "apprenticeship" to something only aspired to he's "in the middle" of it, he says, but L ri feels he's "infinitely further along" than she is. The purpose of their apprenticeship is never expressed, though one of L ri's goals is to feel "alive through pleasure" instead of pain, and Heti's revealing afterword leaves the reader with much to chew on. This deep immersion into the vicissitudes of love will delight Lispector devotees.