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The Passion According to G.H. cover art

The Passion According to G.H.

By: Clarice Lispector
Narrated by: Sofia Willingham
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Summary

Lispector’s most shocking novel.

The Passion According to G.H., Clarice Lispector’s mystical novel of 1964, concerns a well-to-do Rio sculptress, G.H., who enters her maid’s room, sees a cockroach crawling out of the wardrobe, and, panicking, slams the door - crushing the cockroach - and then watches it die. At the end of the novel, at the height of a spiritual crisis, comes the most famous and most genuinely shocking scene in Brazilian literature....

Lispector wrote that of all her works, this novel was the one that "best corresponded to her demands as a writer."

©2012 New Directions (P)2017 TalkingBook

What listeners say about The Passion According to G.H.

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Deeply reflective and introspective

This is a deeply reflective and introspective book by Brazilian author Clarice Lispector from the early 1960s.
The story takes the form of a monologue from a privileged woman we only know as GH. She decides to clear out the room which was previously occupied by her maid who has recently quit.
In doing so she crushes a cockroach in the door of a wardrobe. She is appalled but fascinated by the creature, which she has never seen before, and this sparks soul searching and self examination. She evaluates her life and the decisions she has taken, including her choice to have an abortion (she describes the insects eyes as ovaries).
Her 'sense of self' breaks down, she experiences an existential crisis while all the time matter is oozing from the cockroach's head. Finally, she does something disgusting with the cockroach which I won't reveal here.

Lispector ends each chapter with a sentence which starts the next. My only criticisms are it is overwritten (as most books are) and the intensity can make it a little tedious bordering on boring.
This is a great book for readers who are happy with books where nothing happens but all life is explored. It is pensive and filled with deep thought and self analysis. Lispector chronicles and depicts the inner most thoughts of the character perceptively and graphically. It is intense, sensual, vivid and philosophical.
Sofia Willingham's expressionless voice makes it a little difficult to follow.

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Mental breakdown or mystical experience?

This is not a normal novel. It is a highly reflective, introspective work of prose that sounds like poetry, about a woman who enters the room of her housemaid and finds her world shaken apart. The trigger is the cockroach in the wardrobe, split in half by the door. If this intrigues you, give it a try. The novel is in first person narration and both translation and performance are quite good. Don’t buy this if you are looking for a standard novel with a linear plot.

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  • Gordy
  • 11-04-18

So freaking good!

What an incredible classic to record as an audiobook. I can't believe her work hadn't been produced yet. Thank you, TalkingBook!

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  • Dave
  • 25-01-18

Truly unforgettable

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Passion According to G.H.?

"And it is no use to try to take a shortcut and want to start, already knowing that the voice says so little, starting straightaway with being depersonal. For the journey exists, and the journey is not simply a manner of going. We ourselves are the journey. In the matter of the living, one can never arrive beforehand. The via crucis is not a detour, it is the only way, one cannot arrive except along it and with it. Persistence is our effort, giving up is the reward. One only reaches it having experienced the power of building, and, despite the taste of power, preferring to give up."

Have you listened to any of Sofia Willingham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I loved her delivery in Anais Nin's Little Birds which convinced me to give this a try as well. I'm very glad I did. She did a fantastic job!

Any additional comments?

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-03-18

Incredible book!

Any additional comments?

Sofia Willingham is so amazing. I really loved every moment of this book. I'm going to listen to it again starting tomorrow.

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  • Debra Hartrum
  • 25-01-18

Keep The Lispector Coming!

I can see why this book is so acclaimed. Fascinating, strange journey of the mind and spirit. All over a dead cockroach. Get this!

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  • S. Blank
  • 18-11-20

Agonizing listen

Nothing happens. There really is no story. I thought there would be some deep insights but not enough to keep my interest.

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  • Robert Lynch
  • 22-10-22

Mind-blowing Mystical Masterpiece

I took almost a month to listen to it because I kept replaying many sections over and over. Sometimes to parse the meaning of a passage, mostly to just savor the beauty of Clarice's thoughts and words. Her poetic prose is so overwhelmingly sensual, you feel as if she is making love to you, even though the text is not sexually explicit at all.
Also quite delicious is the manner in which she explores spirituality. Clarice recreates Catholic ritual in her own image and alters Biblical passages and phrases as she sees fit, occasionally subverting the intended meaning of the canonical texts she repurposes. For instance, she says "My Kingdom IS of this world", whereas in the Gospels Christ is quoted as saying "My Kingdom is not of this world". But no knowledge of Christianity is really needed to appreciate the gorgeousness of her craft.
This is one of those books that will become part of my select few that I reread again and again every year.

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  • Allen Mahan
  • 28-08-22

Getting into Lespector

Thais is a reread for me and, man alive, did I get so much more out of it! Then, listening along while reading the text? Im going to reread Aqua Viva, next ...

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-04-21

only okay

great material marred by a lackluster reading. willingham's performance drained Lispector's prose of all life and urgency, leaving it dull and dry.