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by Kim Kent

A year ago


Previous Pairings

The Passion According to G.H., Clarice Lispector & Hondarrabi Zuri, Urkizahar


The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector & Txakolina by Urkizahar

by Kim Kent

A year ago


The Passion According to G.H., Clarice Lispector & Hondarrabi Zuri, Urkizahar

by Kim Kent

A year ago


Lately, I’ve realized that reading may no longer be enough. I want, instead, to be hypnotized. The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector is one such hypnotic novel. Like her protagonist, G.H., Lispector is as much a sculptor as she is a writer. Her language, more sense than meaning, chiseled into a revelatory novel that emerges from a block of material—life. Reading it left me a bit delirious: panting and dry-mouthed, circling each mood before it morphed into the next. Lispector demands your focus, and you’ll need it. Every ounce of your being “vibrates with attention, with process, with inherent present time,” as though implanted on your skin were thousands of blinking, feeling cilia—all of you twitching toward revelation. 

“Give me your hand,” Lispector asks, or perhaps demands, of us: “Don’t try to understand me, just keep me company.” Lispector’s advice is better than any I could give about how, or why, to read this novel. It’s a hurricane that leaves a physical mark. I don’t fully understand, and so all I can do is continue to read. Which, more than a single climax or moment of understanding, may just be the whole point. We are—in the end—just a feeling, a tremble, a single bite closer to the incomprehensible task of knowing anything. 

This Txakolina (100% Hondarrabi Zuri) is a wine you can most certainly feel in your mouth. “Like metal on the tongue, like a crushed green plant,” I want to eat it as much as drink it. Lispector writes: For salt I was ready, for salt I had built my entire self, which I imagine is what this wine would say if it could talk. As much as Lispector’s novel, this wine sucks the moisture out of the room; it sings with salt and a tremendously puckered acidity that moves easily around your mouth. It’s very simple really, like this novel is not, but either way, I found myself all too ready to keep their company—into whatever abyss awaits. 

 

Clarice Lispector was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in the Ukraine. In 1922 her family fled to Brazil where she was raised. Lispector lived in Switzerland, Italy, England, and the United States. She died in Rio in 1977. Given the nickname ‘Hurricane Clarice,’ after her first novel Near to the Wild Heart was published in 1943 on her twenty-third birthday, Lispector’s influence is pervasive and her following thoroughly committed. The Passion According to G.H. was first published in 1964. Idra Novey is a poet and fiction writer who learned Portuguese in order to translate Lispector’s work. While I rarely read forewords or introductions, Novey’s translator’s note is both an interesting and pleasant read. 

The Urkizahar vineyard and farm is located in Beizama, in the Basque Country. They farm organically and are dedicated to growing the finest Hondarrabi Zuri, which is a traditional varietal for the area.