Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
Book 3, Neapolitan Novels - Neapolitan Novels, Book Three
Elena Ferrante & Ann Goldstein
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Book Three in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet
Since the publication of My Brilliant Friend, the first of the Neapolitan novels, Elena Ferrante’s fame as one of our most compelling, insightful, and stylish contemporary authors has grown enormously. She has gained admirers among authors—Jhumpa Lahiri, Elizabeth Strout, Claire Messud, to name a few—and critics—James Wood, John Freeman, Eugenia Williamson, for example. But her most resounding success has undoubtedly been with readers, who have discovered in Ferrante a writer who speaks with great power and beauty of the mysteries of belonging, human relationships, love, family, and friendship.
In this third Neapolitan novel, Elena and Lila, the two girls whom readers first met in My Brilliant Friend, have become women. Lila married at sixteen and has a young son; she has left her husband and the comforts her marriage brought and now works as a common laborer. Elena has left the neighborhood, earned her college degree, and published a successful novel, all of which has opened the doors to a world of learned interlocutors and richly furnished salons. Both women have attempted are pushing against the walls of a prison that would have seen them living a life of misery, ignorance and submission. They are afloat on the great sea of opportunities that opened up during the nineteen-seventies. Yet they are still very much bound to each other by a strong, unbreakable bond.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Social realism meets interiority
Ferrante evokes Naples' gritty, working class streets as well as Balzac does Paris, or Dickens does London. When Elena takes an uncharacteristic stroll out from town toward Vesuvius, the author conveys smells and tastes as much as sights and sounds, to convey the recent disgust her main character feels toward her environs. Yet, we go deep inside the minds of her characters too. Elena mines her memories of Lila with obsessive detail, but the recollections are always fresh and engaging and add another rich layer to their complicated friendship.
- Category: Literary
- Published: Sep 02, 2014
- Publisher: Europa
- Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
- Print Length: 400 Pages
- Language: English
- Series: Book 3, Neapolitan Novels