Author(s): Elena Ferrante; Ann Goldstein (Translator)
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.
Shortlisted for 2016 Man Booker International
'[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 '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 'There is nothing soft or easy about these books. They are almost rebarbative in their refusal to be nice. They are also captivating in their high intelligence, their evocation of the still-powerful past, and their propulsive narrative drive.' Sunday Age 'Deliciously addictive...An expansive yet intimate feat of storytelling.' O, Oprah Magazine 'Ferrante writes with such aggression and unnerving psychological insight about the messy complexity of female friendship that the real world can drop away when you're reading her.' Entertainment Weekly '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 'While each of her [Ferrante] novels is uniquely beguiling, they interrogate a shared set of concerns and obsessions, with bracing narrative frankness. The cumulative effect of her oeuvre is that of reading the distillation of someone's deepest, most furtive thoughts.' Music & Literature 'Ferrante is one of the finest novelists working today...It is difficult to find a more beautiful evocation of a lifelong friendship than the one found in the pages of Ferrante's Neapolitan novels.' National Post '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 '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
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. 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.