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The Story of the Lost Child

Neapolitan Novels - Neapolitan Novels, Book Four

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Book Four in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet

“Nothing quite like this has ever been published before,” proclaimed The Guardian newspaper about the Neapolitan Novels in 2014. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, the third book in the series, was an international best seller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Its author was dubbed “one of the great novelists of our time” by the New York Times Book Review. This fourth and final installment in the series raises the bar even higher and indeed confirms Elena Ferrante as one of the world’s best living storytellers.
Here is the dazzling saga of two women, the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery uncontainable Lila. In this book, both are adults; life’s great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women’s friendship, examined in its every detail over the course of four books, remains the gravitational center of their lives. Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up—a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received books. But now, she has returned to Naples to be with the man she has always loved. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from Naples. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity with the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Yet somehow this proximity to a world she has always rejected only brings her role as unacknowledged leader of that world into relief. For Lila is unstoppable, unmanageable, unforgettable!
Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous and a world undergoing epochal change, this story of a lifelong friendship is told with unmatched honesty. Lila and Elena clash, drift apart, reconcile, and clash again, in the process revealing new facets of their friendship.
The four volumes in this series constitute a long remarkable story that readers will return to again and again, and, like Elena and Lila themselves, every return will bring with it new discoveries.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 01, 2015 – In Ferrante's fourth and final Neapolitan novel, she reunites Elena, the accomplished writer, with Lila, the indomitable spirit, in their Southern Italian city as they confront maturity and old age, death, and the meaning of life. The two friends face the chaos of a corrupt and decaying Naples while the lives of the people closest to them—plagued by abandonment, imprisonment, murder, and betrayal—spiral out of control. "Where is it written that lives should have a meaning?" Lila asks Elena, disparaging her friend's career choice in the process. Readers will need the accompanying index of characters to keep track as Ferrante resolves the themes and events from earlier titles (My Brilliant Friend; The Story of a New Name; Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay) with a force and ferocity recalling the devastating earthquake of 1980 and Vesuvius's volcanic eruptions, which themselves provide the unsettling background to the narrative. Ferrante's precise foreshadowing is such that an early incident of a lost doll in book one mirrors the lost child in book four right down to their shared first name—and "The Blue Fairy," the story Lila scribbled in a childhood notebook that Elena threw in the Arno, resurfaces in this installment's final pages. Throughout, there's the sense of the circle completing: near the end, Elena pens a short novel entitled "A Friendship" (a metafictional nod to Ferrante's series as a whole), inspired by her half-century relationship with Lila. The novel is Elena's final work and permanently ties Elena and Lila together, for better and worse. This stunning conclusion further solidifies the Neapolitan novels as Ferrante's masterpiece and guarantees that this reclusive author will remain far from obscure for years to come.

Customer Reviews

Couldn't put them down!!!!

This series of 4 books by Elena Ferrante described female relationships in such precise and insightful terms that I identified with every relationship. Best friends, mother/daughter relationships, jealousy's, pain, love, disappointment, competition, anger, hope, etc... I started the first book and couldn't stop reading until I finished the last. Bravo, truly gripping.


Rivals Tolstoy both in its depiction of the forces that toss us around in life and in its psychological acuity. These are the first novels of the 21st Century certain to survive it.

Neopolitan Series

I read each and every one of the 4 books. I just finished the 4th. I'm so sad they are over. I loved her story telling and how she brings the characters to life. Yes, I will read everything else Elena Ferrante has written.
Wendy Yellin

The Story of the Lost Child
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Sep 01, 2015
  • Publisher: Europa
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 480 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Series: Neapolitan Novels
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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