A woman falls into mystical reveries in cleaning out a vacated maid's rom, encountering a cockroach. In confronting herself, she must find a way to push beyond what's safe, what's comfortable: letting go of even the bright lights of the horizon. This is "relinquishing hope," which "means that I shall have to start living, and not just promising myself life. And this is the greatest fright I can have." But what is fright anyway? We must ingest even the most detestable things, assimilating the revolting, for it is part of our humanity, too.
What an odd, wonderful little book. Some might be bothered by Lispector's stream of consciousness, cluttered with mundanities and resistant to linear narrative, but to me, they make the nuggets of wisdom all the more evocative, since you have to prospect for them among talk of placentophagy, the character of different kinds of flowers, and so on.
What of this plotlessness? I'll let Lispector speak for herself:
Does my life have no plot? I’m unexpectedly fragmentary. I’m little by little. My story is to live. And I’m not afraid of failure. Let failure annihilate me, I want the glory of falling. ... This isn’t a story because I don’t know stories as such, but only know how to keep on speaking and doing: it’s a story of instants that flash by, like fugitive tracks seen from a train window.