The Passion According to G. H. has an extremely tight focus. From G. H.’s viewpoint, the novel recounts what happened one morning while she worked and sat alone in her flat. Nothing about G. H.’s life is reported unless a memory of it turns up in this space of time—the reader learns nothing about the narrator’s childhood, for example, since none of her mental associations lead to thoughts of it—and other characters are sketched only to the degree that they occur in her reminiscences. Aside from her maid, other people who appear in the book are not even named. The fact that the speaker laconically calls herself G. H. is thus a relative matter, since even this slight designation gives her more substantiality than is granted to other figures in the book. Lispector’s strategy for describing her main character, then, is to keep personal details to a minimum without eliminating them altogether.
G. H. has had a shallow life, according to the details that do appear to describe her. Her life is taken up with such insignificant pursuits as gossiping and partying. Though she is a sculptress, she does not labor seriously at her art; though she is a social butterfly, she has no special confidantes or long-term love relationship. Yet she has, on occasion and only for brief spans, longed for a more profound connection to the universe. These details serve to anchor the character firmly in reality, so that what happens to her seems neither...
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