A visceral new translation of Hilda Hilst’s radical first novel
Fluxo-Floema is a detective novel of sorts—pornographic, scatological, and spiritual—that ultimately references the failure and success of writing. It’s about vocabulary, astrology, dramaturgy, science, a story within a story within a story. It’s a celestial map to social interaction and the failure of connection, a crafted examination of the distortions of religion and piety. Here we, the reader, visit nonsense, pathos, violence, and the flights of fancy of human coexistence.
In these an-ontological tales, Hilda Hilst breaks glass before we know there is glass between us and the teeming of reality—the glass now broken, Hilst’s circling proses resonate not just from page to page, but through the pages, as if bound paper or screen pixels were themselves porosities subject to the flux-oh of flowed language. Alexandra Joy Forman takes up the challenge brilliantly in her rerouting of the flow, unexhausting this marvel of a work in an English that travels fluctuating, infatuating, multifoliate—it graces and awakens us all at once.
Hilst has been creating work whose raw essence is drawn from a world of chaos that has slipped off-center (since losing its sacred core.)
Originally published in 1969, this experimental novel by Brazilian Hilst (With My Dog Eyes) weaves the quest to understand the soul into a spectacle of the written word… Hilst’s immersive prose subverts conventional interpretation, creating instead an evocative experience that answers the need for self-actualization with love of language for its own sake.
Hilda Hilst died in 2004, but her first work didn’t make it into English until 2012 with The Obscene Madam D. (A Obscena Madam D., translated by Nathanaël and Rachel Gontijo Araújo), published by Nightboat Books. This is partly because of how challenging her prose is: Much of it alternates between fragmentation and stream of consciousness; fans of Thomas Bernhard and Laszlo Krasznahorkaiwill find themselves at home with Hilst’s work. Like Lispector, her work frequently shifts between the sacred and the profane; she continually returns to the supernatural and the utterly corporeal in her work. Since the publication of The Obscene Madam D., a flurry of her work has become available in English. Fluxo-Floema is forthcoming this year from Nightboat Books (translated by Alexandra Joy Forman).
HILDA HILST (1930–2004) was born in Jaú, a small town in the state of São Paulo, in 1930. A graduate of law from the University of São …