Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read First Kiss by Clarice Lispector translated from the Portuguese by Rachel Klein.
The two of them murmured more than talked: the relationship had begun just a little while before and they were both giddy, it was love. Love and what comes with it: jealousy.
—It’s fine, I believe you that I’m your first love, this makes me happy. But tell me the truth, only the truth: you never kissed a woman before you kissed me?
It was simple:
—Yes, I’ve kissed a woman before.
—Who was she?, she asked sorrowfully
He tried to tell it crudely, he didn’t know how.
Clarice Lispector was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in Ukraine. To escape the pogroms, her family emigrated to Brazil when she was a baby. She spent her childhood in the northeast city of Recife. Her first novel, Near to the Wild Heart, was published when she was 23 years old. She immediately gained a reputation and over time became one of Brazil’s most acclaimed writers. She published novels, stories, and journalism until her death in 1977. This story was first published in Brazil in 1971, in the collection Felicidade Clandestina. This marks its first publication in English. Copyright ©2013 by New Directions Publishing and the Heirs of Clarice Lispector, from the forthcoming Collected Stories. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.
Rachel Klein is the author of The Moth Diaries, which was adapted to the screen by director Mary Harron. The novel has been translated into 12 languages.