Family Ties (story collection)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Family Ties
Laços de família.jpg
The first Brazilian edition.
Author Clarice Lispector
Original title Laços de família
Illustrator Cyro del Niro
Cover artist Cyro del Niro
Country Brazil
Language Portuguese
Publisher Francisco Alves Editora
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print
Preceded by Alguns contos (Some Stories)
Followed by A maçã no escuro (The Apple in the Dark)

Family Ties (Laços de família in Portuguese) is a 1960 short story collection by the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector.

Short stories[edit]

Family Ties consists of thirteen short stories.

  • "Daydreams of a Drunk Woman" ("Devaneio e embriaguez duma rapariga")
  • "Love" ("Amor")
  • "The Chicken" ("Uma galinha")
  • "The Imitation of the Rose" ("A imitação da rosa")
  • "Happy Birthday" ("Feliz aniversário")
  • "The Smallest Woman in the World" ("A menor mulher do mundo")
  • "The Dinner" ("O jantar")
  • "Preciousness" ("Preciosidade")
  • "Family Ties" ("Os laços de família")
  • "The Beginnings of a Fortune" ("Começos de uma fortuna")
  • "Mystery in São Cristóvão" ("Mistério em São Cristóvão")
  • "The Crime of the Mathematics Professor" ("O crime do professor de matemática")
  • "The Buffalo" ("O búfalo")


Though only published in 1960, after the author's definitive return to Brazil from the United States, the first of the stories of Family Ties dated as far back as 1943, when Clarice Lispector wrote "O jantar," later published in the Rio de Janeiro newspaper A manhã" in October 1946.[1] Another, "O Crime do professor de matemática", was published, in an earlier version, as "O Crime" in another newspaper.[2]

In 1952, Lispector had published a short volume with these stories and four others ("Love," "Mystery in São Cristóvão", "The Beginnings of a Fortune", "The Chicken") called Alguns contos (Some Stories), published by the Brazilian Ministry of Education and Health. The rest of the stories were completed by March, 1955, but Lispector had trouble publishing them because the Ministry would not release the rights to them, despite Lispector's many requests.[3]

Major themes[edit]

Most of the stories focus on a character whose daily life—grocery shopping in "Love", a family gathering in "Happy Birthday"—is shattered by a sudden epiphany. In this basic structure, they often resemble the later novel The Passion According to G.H.. Reflecting the author's own experience at the time, and as the title suggests, the characters in Family Ties are often housewives struggling to balance the demands of family and marriage with a wilder, less controllable life, symbolized by the experience of Ana in "Love," whose careful life breaks down when she is confronted with the wildness of a garden, in this case the Jardim Botânico of Rio de Janeiro.

Literary significance and reception[edit]

The stories would eventually be recognized as a high point in Brazilian literature, as two of that literature’s most famous writers saw immediately. Fernando Sabino wrote that “you’ve made eight stories like nobody has come even close to making in Brazil,” adding that the book would be “exactly, sincerely, indisputably, and even humbly, the best book of stories ever published in Brazil”.[4] Erico Verissimo told her: “I haven’t written about your book of stories out of sheer embarrassment to tell you what I think of it. Here goes: the most important story collection published in this country since Machado de Assis,” Brazil’s classic novelist.[5]


  1. ^ Lispector, Clarice (October 1946). O jantar. Rio de Janeiro: unknown clipping, Clarice Lispector Archive, Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa, Rio de Janeiro. 
  2. ^ Lispector, Clarisse (sic.) (August 25, 1945). O crime. Rio de Janeiro: unknown clipping, Clarice Lispector Archive, Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa, Rio de Janeiro. 
  3. ^ Lispector, Clarice (2005). Correspondências. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco. 
  4. ^ Lispector, Clarice, and Fernando Tavares Sabino (2001). Cartas perto do coração. Rio de Janeiro: Record. p. 124. 
  5. ^ Lispector, Correspondências, Érico Veríssimo to Lispector, September 3, 1961.