From: Clarice Lispector
To: Tania Kaufmann

Bern, May 5, 1946

My dear:

Since I have nothing to write, I just send you “my greetings.” However these are not just cordial; they are so cordial that it pushes me to the typewriter in the name of love. Everything here is fine. We’re looking for a house and we still haven’t found one. The hotel is very good but it is too expensive and tiresome. People who are knowledgeable about the pleasure of living say that this hotel is one of the best in the world (this is to impress me, speaking of the whole world always impresses). But why am I supposed to observe my nature as if it were a sin? Why not see frankly and without recrimination that I have the worst kind of snobbery, which is not taking pleasure in the “things in the world?” I’m laughing. Actually, I have a poor temperament. It turns out that the two grams of private strength that I have I spend on my job and my desire to work – and there’s nothing left for anything else. And I already noticed that if I don’t work, then I don’t know how to give those two grams either. Funny, isn’t it? Me, who can be so active when it comes to something I really want, like traveling to see you all, even on an uncomfortable and lonely plane and all, won’t have an interest in unpacking the bags that arrived from Italy, or take a more intense interest in the search for a house … Darling, don’t think that if Marcia had a vocation to work on something in the arts, she would suffer. When a person is alive in every sense, this doesn’t happen. By the way, dear, I have no right to advise or ask, but I think you should let Marcinha expand into all terrains. It is not necessary for her to make one of these “terrains” into a “profession” – but expanding oneself is the very joy of living. One cannot close the heart of a little flower and force it to open only at certain times and in a certain sense. I sound scholarly… And William? I lost his address in the United States. When will he be back? What news is there of him? I hope he returns soon. Write to me, dear. In this life of mine abroad I’ve learned to feel sometimes as if I were going to receive a letter  … Of course, there hasn’t been enough time for a letter to come. But it’s worth the wait … With the effort of waiting across the entire world for the letter that does not come, it seems that after all I get in touch with you across the distance. Many of my thoughts are like this: what do you think, Tania? What would you think, Elisa? You, this little bird, Marcia! Tania dear little one, take a good look at the airplane schedule and give us news. God bless you. A hug from


Tania, William’s friend only delivered two books. You sent ten, didn’t you? I need them. But don’t send them in the mail because it would cost a fortune. If you can, call or go to the Ministry, look for Miss Castro Menezes, say that you are my sister and ask if she can send them through the diplomatic mail to Bern, at least one book of mine. She is very kind. Say that I send my regards and that the request is mine. Say that I’ve been in Bern with Mr. and Mrs. Aldo Castro Menezes, and that they are doing very well. And that I offer whatever she needs from Switzerland.

Darling, make sure you do it, ok?

Tania, have any reviews come out?