A short, stunning book by a Brazilian master of the avant-garde.
Something has changed in Amos Keres, a university mathematics professor—his sentences trail off in class, he is disgusted by the sight of his wife and son, and he longs to flee the comfortable bourgeois life he finds himself a part of. Most difficult of all are his struggles to express what has happened to him, for a man more accustomed to numbers than words. He calls it "the clearcut unhoped-for," and it's a vision that will drive him to madness and, eventually, death.
Written in a fragmented style that echoes the character's increasingly fragile hold on reality, With My Dog-Eyes is intensely vivid, summoning up Amos's childhood and young adulthood—when, like Richard Feynman, he used to bring his math books to brothels to study—and his life at the university, with its "meetings, asskissers, pointless rivalries, gratuitous resentments, jealous talk, meglomanias."
Hilst, whose father was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, has created a lacerating, and yet oddly hopeful, portrayal of a descent into hell--Amos never makes sense of the new way he sees things, but he does find an avenue of escape, retreating to his mother's house and, farther, towards the animal world. A deeply metaphysical, formally radical one-of-a-kind book from a great Brazilian writer.
"Like her friend and admirer Clarice Lispector, Hilda Hilst was a passionate explorer of the sacred and the profane, the pure and the obscene."
Praise for THE OBSCENE MADAME D
"May just be the literary miracle of 2012...The Obscene Madame D stands at only 57 pages and yet manages to offer the reader a truly immersive experience unlike any of the classic tomes that brim with words."
—ALEX ESTES, Full Stop