You know what I hate? When I’m reading a book, enjoying it, and then the author comes out with a bit of some utter idiocy that I can’t get over. And when I try to get over it, the idiot of the author keeps repeating the idiocy because they probably see it as some crowning achievement.
Here is the most recent example. I started reading a biography of the great Brazilian writer of Jewish-Ukrainian origins, Clarice Lispector. The author of the biography is no genius, but the book was OK, as far as biographies go. And then, for some mysterious reason, the author starts harping on the idea of Lispector’s supposed “strident feminism.” There is not a single example of the “stridency” of Lispector’s feminism given in the book, but the author keeps harping about it.
Lispector’s mother was gang-raped by a mob of soldiers, contracted syphilis during the rape, and died a horrible painful death as a result. The writer grew up in the supremely machista Brazil of the 30ies and the 40ies. She was a woman in a culture and a time that treated women as a heap of trash. Yes, Clarice Lispector was sensitive to violations of women’s rights. Does that give the right to some pathetic semi-literate biography-writer to dismiss her political convictions that he is not even capable of understanding?
In short, Benjamin Moser, the author of Lispector’s biography Why This World should be ashamed of himself. I’m never reading a single word by this silly hater of feminism ever again. And I suggest everybody do the same. A biographer who can’t respect the great writer he tries to discuss deserves to go broke.