From the author of My Brilliant Friend
This book invites readers into Elena Ferrante’s workshop. It offers a glimpse into the drawers of her writing desk, those drawers from which emerged her three early standalone novels and the four installments of My Brilliant Friend, known in English as the Neapolitan Quartet. Consisting of over 20 years of letters, essays, reflections, and interviews, it is a unique depiction of an author who embodies a consummate passion for writing.
In these pages Ferrante answers many of her readers’ questions. She addresses her choice to stand aside and let her books live autonomous lives. She discusses her thoughts and concerns as her novels are being adapted into films. She talks about the challenge of finding concise answers to interview questions. She explains the joys and the struggles of writing, the anguish of composing a story only to discover that that story isn’t good enough. She contemplates her relationship with psychoanalysis, with the cities she has lived in, with motherhood, with feminism, and with her childhood as a storehouse for memories, impressions, and fantasies. The result is a vibrant and intimate self-portrait of a writer at work.
The interview that begins on p. 299 of Frantumaglia is incorrectly attributed to Mauricio Meireles. This interview was conducted by Isabel Lucas and published on July 17 2015 in Público's literary supplement Ipsilon under the title “Elena Ferrante? Treze letras, nem mais new menus.” The editors of Frantumaglia wish to express their apologies to all parties concerned.
Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), and The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008), now a film directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and starring Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, and Jessie Buckley. She is also the author of Incidental Inventions (Europa, 2019), illustrated by Andrea Ucini; Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey (Europa, 2016); and a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri, The Beach at Night (Europa, 2016). The four volumes known as the “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) were published by Europa Editions in English between 2012 and 2015. My Brilliant Friend, the HBO series directed by Saverio Costanzo, premiered in 2018. The adaptation of Ferrante’s most recent novel, The Lying Life of Adults (Europa, 2020), debuted on Netflix in 2023.