Like her friend and admirer Clarice Lispector, Hilda Hilst was a passionate explorer of the sacred and the profane, the pure and the obscene, and shows, in this discomfiting, hypnotic work, just how rarely those categories are what they seem. The translation is excellent - what a rare relief.
There is no right to punish. There is only the power to punish,' she wrote. 'A man is punished for his crime because the State is stronger than he; the great crime of War is not punished because beyond the individual there is mankind, and beyond mankind there is nothing at all.