Now an HBO series: the first volume in the New York Times–bestselling “enduring masterpiece” about a lifelong friendship between two women from Naples (The Atlantic). Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Elena Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its main characters, the fiery and unforgettable Lila and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflicted friendship. This first novel in the series follows Lila and Elena from their fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between two women. “An intoxicatingly furious portrait of enmeshed friends.” —Entertainment Weekly “Spectacular.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air “Captivating.” —The New Yorker
My friendship with Lila began the day we decided to go up the dark stairs that led, step after step, flight after flight, to the door of Don Achille's apartment... I waited to see if Lila would have second thoughts and turn back. I knew what she wanted to do; I had hoped that she would forget about it, but in vain. My Brilliant Friend is a ravishing, wonderfully written novel about a friendship that lasts a lifetime. The story of Elena and Lila begins in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. The two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, sometimes to their own detriment, as each discovers more about who she is and suffers or delights in the throes of their intense friendship. There is a piercing honesty about Ferrante's prose that makes My Brilliant Friend a compulsively readable portrait of two young women, and also the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country.
Part of the bestselling saga about childhood friends following different paths by “one of the great novelists of our time” (The New York Times). In the third book in the New York Times–bestselling Neapolitan quartet that inspired the HBO series My Brilliant Friend, Elena and Lila have grown into womanhood. 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 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 for women during the 1970s. And yet, they are still very much bound to each other in a book that “shows off Ferrante’s strong storytelling ability and will leave readers eager for the final volume of the series” (Library Journal). “One of modern fiction’s richest portraits of a friendship.” —NPR
In one volume, the New York Times-bestselling epic about hardship and female friendship in postwar Naples that has sold over five million copies. Beginning with My Brilliant Friend, the four Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante follow Elena and Lila, from their rough-edged upbringing in Naples, Italy, not long after WWII, through the many stages of their lives--and along paths that diverge wildly. Sometimes they are separated by jealousy or hostility or physical distance, but the bond between them is unbreakable, for better or for worse. This volume includes all four novels: My Brilliant Friend; The Story of a New Name; Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay; and The Story of the Lost Child. "Imagine if Jane Austen got angry and you'll have some idea of how explosive these works are." --The Australian "Nothing you read about Elena Ferrante's work prepares you for the ferocity of it." --The New York Times "An enduring masterpiece." --The Atlantic
Reading Groups have made Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet a long-selling bestseller. At Europa Editions we’d like to express by offering this extensive guide to the four installments of the Neapolitan series for book groups, reading groups, and book discussion leaders. With a summary of the series, discussion questions, a summary of international praise and much more, this publication should prove a helpful guide to any and all discussions about Ferrante’s masterpiece.
Soon to be an HBO series, the follow-up to My Brilliant Friend in the New York Times bestselling Neapolitan quartet about two friends growing up in post-war Italy is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted family epic by Italy’s most beloved and acclaimed writer, Elena Ferrante, “one of the great novelists of our time.” (Roxana Robinson, The New York Times) In The Story of a New Name, Lila has recently married and made her enterée into the family business; Elena, meanwhile, continues her studies and her exploration of the world beyond the neighborhood that she so often finds stifling. Love, jealousy, family, freedom, commitment, and above all friendship: these are signs under which both women live out this phase in their stories. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, and the pressure to excel is at times too much for Elena. Yet the two young women share a complex and evolving bond that is central to their emotional lives and is a source of strength in the face of life's challenges. In these Neapolitan Novels, Elena Ferrante, the acclaimed author of The Days of Abandonment, gives readers a poignant and universal story about friendship and belonging. Ferrante is one of the world’s great storytellers. With the Neapolitan quartet she has given her readers an abundant, generous, and masterfully plotted page-turner that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight readers for many generations to come.
From one of the most important contemporary thinkers we have, a compelling, forceful tract about women and motherhood that demands immediate attention. Moving commandingly between pop cultural references such as Roald Dahl's 'Matilda' to observations about motherhood in the ancient world, from and thoughts about the stigmatization of single mothers in the UK, Mothers delivers a groundbreaking report into something so prevalent we hardly notice. A short, provocative work that considers how motherhood the object of intense ambivalence, of idealization and hatred-is the ultimate scapegoat for everything that is wrong with the world.
The Story of the Lost Child is the long-awaited fourth volume in the Neapolitan novels (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay). The quartet traces the friendship between Elena and Lila, from their childhood in a poor neighbourhood in Naples, to their thirties, when both women are mothers but each has chosen a different path. Their lives are still inextricably linked, for better or worse, especially when it comes to the drama of a lost child. Elena Ferrante was born in Naples. She is the author of seven novels: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, The Lost Daughter, and the quartet of Neapolitan novels: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. Frantugmalia, a selection of interviews, letters and occasional writings by Ferrante, will be published in 2016. She is one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors. Ann Goldstein has translated all of Elena Ferrante’s work. She is an editor at the New Yorker and a recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Prize. Praise for Ferrante and the Neapolitan novels ‘[Ferrante’s] charting of the rivalries and sheer inscrutability of female friendship is raw. This is high stakes, subversive literature.’ Sunday Telegraph ‘Ferrante is an expert above all at the rhythm of plotting...Whether it’s work, family, friends or sex–and Ferrante, perhaps thanks to her anonymity as an author, is blisteringly good on bad sex–our greatest mistakes in life aren’t isolated acts; we rehearse them over and over until we get them as badly wrong as we can.’ Independent ‘Great novels are intelligent far beyond the powers of any character or writer or individual reader, as are great friendships, in their way. These wonderful books sit at the heart of that mystery, with the warmth and power of both.’ Harper’s ‘Elena Ferrante is one of the great novelists of our time. Her voice is passionate, her view sweeping and her gaze basilisk...In these bold, gorgeous, relentless novels, Ferrante traces the deep connections between the political and the domestic. This is a new version of the way we live now—one we need, one told brilliantly, by a woman.’ New York Times Sunday Book Review ‘When I read [the Neapolitan novels] I find that I never want to stop. I feel vexed by the obstacles—my job, or acquaintances on the subway—that threaten to keep me apart from the books. I mourn separations (a year until the next one—how?). I am propelled by a ravenous will to keep going.’ New Yorker ‘The best thing I’ve read this year, far and away...She puts most other writing at the moment in the shade. She’s marvellous.’ Richard Flanagan ‘The Neapolitan series stands as a testament to the ability of great literature to challenge, flummox, enrage and excite as it entertains.’ Sydney Morning Herald ‘The depth of perception Ms. Ferrante shows about her character’s conflicts and psychological states is astonishing...Her novels ring so true and are written with such empathy that they sound confessional.’ Wall Street Journal ‘The older you get, the harder it is to recapture the intoxicating sense of discovery that comes when you first read George Eliot, Nabokov, Tolstoy or Colette. But this year it came again when I read Elena Ferrante’s remarkable Neapolitan novels.’ Jane Shilling, New Statesman ‘There is nothing remotely tiring or trying about the experience of reading the Neapolitan novels, which I, and a great many others, now rank among our greatest book-related pleasures...it is writing that holds honesty dear.’ Weekend Australian ‘Dickens gave working people a voice. Ferrante, whoever she might be, presents a new paradigm for being female in the world...Ferrante’s great literary creations, Lenu and Lila, have the same emotional weight as Anne in Persuasion, Jo in Little Women, Maggie in The Mill on the Floss, Jane in Jane Eyre.’ Helen Elliott in the Monthly ‘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.’ Publishers Weekly ‘The Neapolitan novels are smart, thoughtful, serious literature. At the same time, they are violent, suspenseful soap operas populated with a vivid cast of scheming characters...Ferrante’s novels are deeply personal and intimate, getting to the very heart of what it means to be a woman, a friend, a daughter, a mother.’ Debrief Daily ‘Shattering and enthralling, intimate and vicious...The Neapolitan Novels are the kind of books that swallow me whole. As soon as I pick one up, I don’t want to breathe or move lest I break the spell...The Neapolitan Novels are among the most important in my reading life. I can’t recommend them highly enough.’ Readings ‘Ferrante captures the complexities of women, friendship and motherhood in ways that make your heart soar and ache in equal measures. If you haven’t already, treat yourself to this series.’ ELLE Australia ‘[Ferrante’s] Neapolitan novels contain real life – recognisable anxiety, joy, love and heartbreak. This is an incredibly difficult feat to achieve in the first place, let alone sustain, over four books. We will be talking about Elena and Lila for years to come.’ Sydney Morning Herald ‘There's a bright, sinewy humanness to Ferrante’s writing that is so alive it's alarming...The Story of the Lost Child is a full emotional experience, and a fitting end to a huge, arresting series.’ New Zealand Listener ‘I was one of the many who wept and wondered over Elena Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child. I plan to re-read the entire series soon.’ Favourite Feminist Reads from 2016, Feminist Writers Festival
"This is my last column, after a year that has scared and inspired me." With these words, Elena Ferrante, the bestselling author of My Brilliant Friend, bid farewell to her year-long collaboration with the Guardian. For a full year she penned short pieces, the subjects of which were suggested by editors at the Guardian, turning the writing process into a kind of prolonged interlocution; the subjects ranged from first love to climate change, from enmity among women to the adaptation of her novels to film and TV. As she said in her final column: "I have written as an author of novels, taking on matters that are important to me and that--if I have the will and the time--I'd like to develop within real narrative mechanisms." Here, then, are the seeds of possible future novels, the ruminations of an internationally beloved author, and the abiding preoccupations of a writer who has been called "one of the great novelists of our time" (the New York Times). Gathered here in a beautiful gift edition and accompanied by a new, original introduction by the author and Andrea Ucini's intelligent, witty, and beautiful illustrations, this is a must for all Ferrante fans.