Author(s): Elena Ferrante
Soon to be an HBO series, book four in the New York Times bestselling Neapolitan quartet about two friends in post-war Italy is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted epic by one of today's most beloved and acclaimed writers, Elena Ferrante, "one of the great novelists of our time." (Roxana Robinson, The New York Times)
Here is the dazzling saga of two women, the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery uncontainable Lila. In this book, 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. 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.
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.
Winner of ABIA International Book of the Year 2016. Shortlisted for Best Translated Book Award 2016 and Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2016.
'[Ferrante's] charting of the rivalries and sheer inscrutability of female friendship is raw. This is high stakes, subversive literature.' Sunday Telegraph 'In the past decade, no fiction writer has made it more necessary to think about the performative aspect of being a woman than Elena Ferrante. Her novels, written originally in Italian and translated beautifully by Ann Goldstein, are ferociously engaged with the ways in which a woman-as a daughter, a teenager, a lover, and, most dramatically, a mother-is a kind of person in drag, speaking through a costume that slowly becomes all that one knows of her...It's Ferrante's ability to capture both the mirror and the woman standing before it that makes her a writer to be reckoned with.' -- John Freeman 'Nothing you read about Elena Ferrante's work prepares you for the ferocity of it...This is a woman's story told with such truthfulness that it is not so much a life observed as it is felt.' New York Times '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 'Elena Ferrante's magnificent "Neopolitan novels" trace the relationship between two headstrong Italian women...But these books are more than autobiography by other means. They also look outward, offering a dissection of Italian society that is almost Tolstoyan in its sweep and ambition. They are, into the bargain, extraordinarily gripping entertainment; the plot in this latest instalment twists and turns, like a Naples alleyway, towards a sequel-enabling conclusion. Novel by novel, Ferrante's series is building into one of the great achievements of modern literature.' Independent UK 'Ferrante's project is bold: her books chronicle the inner conflicts of intelligent women...Her writing has a powerful intimacy...a bona fide literary sensation-the famous writer nobody knows.' Guardian UK '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 best angry woman writer ever.' -- John Waters '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 'If you haven't read Elena Ferrante, it's like not having read Flaubert in 1856...Incontrovertibly brilliant.' Anne Meadows, editor of Granta, on Monocle Radio '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 'A knowing and complex tale that encompasses an entire metropolis. The breadth of vision makes this final installment feel like the essential volume.' Washington Post '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 'I say this with more confidence than I have felt during 15 years of book reviewing: the Neapolitan novels are extraordinary.' Sunday Times 'Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels rest by your bedside as innocent as the dormant Vesuvius but with the same seismic possibility...The word "great" can, for once, be used with the strictness and precision of truth.' Monthly 'From a literary perspective, Ms Ferrante's approach is masterly. She uses the melodramatic tropes of soap opera to tell a cracking good story, all the while smuggling in piercing observations, like a file baked in a cake.' Economist 'Ferrante's writing seems to say something that hasn't been said before...in a way so compelling its readers forget where they are, abandon friends and disdain sleep.' London Review of Books 'Enthralling, disturbing, startlingly honest and a justly acclaimed tour de force.' New Zealand Listener, Best Books of 2015 'Ferrante's importance ultimately lies not in her masterly plotting, her no-false-note sentences, but in her dedication to the bloodletting truth of a woman's experience...My Brilliant Friend and its sequels are, in the end, nothing less than an epic of female identity and erasure.' Vogue 'From a literary perspective, Ms Ferrante's approach is masterly. She uses the melodramatic tropes of soap opera to tell a cracking good story, all the while smuggling in piercing observations, like a file.' Economist '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 'No one has written a book like this, certainly not about two women...what exists between Elena and Lila is far more fully examined, and fully realized, than anything outside of fiction.' Los Angeles Review of Books '[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 'Relentless is the word for [Ferrante's] writing and also the need felt by the reader to read on and on. A great reading experience.' Examiner 'A passionate, pacey, unflinchingly honest saga that gives a picture of contemporary Italian life and thought like nothing else.' Joan London, Age/Sydney Morning, Best Books of 2015 'The most fascinating female friendship in literature...Ferrante, with her intense, furious learning and passion, excavates a world that grips because it is exceptional.' Helen Elliott, Australian, Best Books of 2015 'A fitting conclusion to The Neapolitan Quartet, perhaps the finest literary series of the last 50 years. A brilliant, insightful, evocative novel.' Booktopia, Books of the Year 2015
"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. She is one of Italy's most acclaimed authors."