“The colonial two-story house, at 387 Rua do Aragão, in full view of the Maciel Pinheiro Plaza, in Boa Vista, is hardly noticed by passers-by who walk down the street in a hurry or who spend the afternoon sitting, searching out the shade of the trees in the square. A project conducted in partnership with the Santa Casa de Misercórdia wants to rescue the memory of the property and make Recife residents and tourists lay their eyes once again on the house. It was there where the writer Clarice Lispector lived from 5 to 14 years of age, between the 1920s and 1930s. The goal is to transform the property into a two-story cultural center with art workshops and Lispector readings, a family collection, cafe and bookstore.
The great-niece of the writer, Nicole Algranti, has been spearheading the project for almost four years. She tries to raise funds via financiers of cultural activities in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where she lives. The Santa Casa de Misericórdia gave the property to her, lending it out indefinitely. “When she gets funding, which is about to happen, we’ll need to begin restoring the house,” explained the director of the Santa Casa, Rilane Dueire. According to her, the house has been closed since June of last year when it was broken into and vandalized. Sought by the Diario newspaper, a grand-niece of writer did not return any calls.
The house, now painted in ocher and orange, is part of the architectural ensemble of the protected Boa Vista neighborhood properties. “The architectural importance is given not only due to the unit, i.e. the house, but because of the entire set of properties. They’re 18th century homes. That area was completely uninhabited until the 1870s. Starting from the 1920s, many Jews settled in the region,” explained the architect and urbanist Fernando Diniz.
Professor of the Department of Arts of the Federal University of Pernambuco, Lourival Holanda, studied the works of the writer and noted that she spent little time in Recife, but that the period was crucial. “Clarice’s mother died in this house. It was there where she spent defining moments of her past,” he explained. According to him, the city appears clearly in four texts within the book Clandestine Happiness.
For Clarice, Recife was the most important reference, the location to which she felt she belonged. In an interview in 1977, the writer confirmed the importance and influence of the state capital in her work. “Pernambuco leaves such an impression that it could be said that nothing, even on trips I took around the world, contributed to what I write. But Recife remains constant,” she said.” – DP (PT)