The Story of the Lost Child (Storia della bambina perduta). The novel, which will be released in English on 1 September, is the last of Ferrante’s acclaimed Neapolitan quartet of novels which are dominated by the inner lives of women – their relationships, demons and tragedies.
The books are written in such a startlingly authentic manner that critics suggest her anonymity is a necessary protection if she is to remain fiercely sincere, and have reached an appreciative audience far beyond Italy.
Partly because her work describes domestic experiences – such as vivid sexual jealousy and other forms of shame – that are underexplored in fiction, Ferrante’s reputation is soaring, especially among women (Zadie Smith, Mona Simpson and Jhumpa Lahiri are fans).
Her writing has a powerful intimacy – as if her characters, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, are the lenses through which we read our own minds.
The novelist Claire Messud emailed, “When you write to me and say you love her work, I have a moment where I think, ‘But … Elena is my friend! My private relationship with her, so intense and so true, is one that nobody else can fully know!’ It’s strange – and rare – to feel proprietary of a book, or a writer, in that way.”
Ferrante’s most recent project, known as the Neapolitan series – four novels that make up a single book – is a kind of quasi-feminist bildungsroman that also happens to be a history of Italy in the late 20th century.
Nothing quite like it has ever been published. With the UK and US publication last month of the series’ third volume, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and the publication this week in Italy of the series’ much-heralded conclusion, The Story of the Lost Child, Ferrante is becoming a bona fide literary sensation – the famous writer nobody knows.
These words are extracts from various articles in the Guardian
Share this Post