The Chandelier - Excerpt

She’d be flowing all her life. But what had dominated her edges and attracted them toward a center, what had illuminated her against the world and given her intimate power was the secret. She’d never know how to think of it in clear terms afraid to invade and dissolve its image. Yet it had formed in her interior a far-off and living nucleus and had never lost the magic — it sustained her in her unsolvable vagueness like the single reality that for her should always be the lost one. The two of them were leaning over the fragile bridge and Virgínia was feeling her bare feet falter insecurely as if they were dangling atop the calm whirl of the waters.It was a violent and dry day, in broad fixed colors; the trees were creaking beneath the warm wind wrinkled by swift cool drafts. The thin and torn girlish dress was pierced by shivers of coolness. With her serious mouth pressed against the dead branch of the bridge, Virgínia was plunging her distracted eyes into the waters. Suddenly she’d frozen tense and light:


  Daniel had turned his head quickly — stuck on a rock was a wet hat, heavy and dark with water. The running river was tugging it with brutality and it was putting up a fight. Until losing its final strength it was taken by the light current and in leaps disappeared into the foam almost happy. They hesitated surprised.

  “We can’t tell anyone,” whispered Virgínia finally, her voice distant and dizzy.

  “Yes . . . ,” — even Daniel had been frightened and was agreeing . . . the waters kept flowing — “Not even if they ask us about the drow — ”

  “Yes!” Virgínia almost shouted . . . both fell silent with strength, their eyes bulging and ferocious.

  “Virgínia . . . ,” her brother said slowly with a rawness that left his face all angles, “I will swear.”

  “Yes . . . my God, but one always swears . . .”

  Daniel was thinking while looking at her and she wasn’t moving her face waiting for him to find in her the answer.

  “For example . . . that everything that we are . . . turns to nothing . . . if we speak of this to anyone.”

  He had spoken so seriously, he had spoken so beautifully, the river was rolling, the river was rolling. The leaves covered in dust, the thick and moist leaves along the banks, the river was rolling. She wanted to respond and say that yes, yes! hotly, almost happy, laughing with dry lips . . . but she couldn’t speak, she didn’t know how to breathe; how it unsettled her. With dilated eyes, her face suddenly small and colorless, she cautiously assented with her head. Daniel moved off, Daniel was moving off. No! she wanted to shout and tell him to wait, not to leave her alone above the river; but he kept going. Her heart beating in a body suddenly empty of blood, her heart skipping, falling furiously, the waters rushing, she tried to open her lips, blow out any pale word. Like the impossible cry in a nightmare, no sound was heard and the clouds were sliding quickly in the sky toward a destination. Beneath her feet the waters were murmuring — in a bright hallucination she was thinking: ah yes, so she’d fall and drown, ah yes. Some intense and livid thing like terror but triumphant, a certain mad and bristling happiness was now filling her body and she was waiting to die, her hand closed as if for all time on the branch of the bridge. Daniel turned around right then.

The Chandelier Cover Image
By Clarice Lispector, Benjamin Moser (Translator), Magdalena Edwards (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811223133
Availability: available for order
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - March 27th, 2018