In 2020, Claire Luchette in O, The Oprah Magazine described the beloved Italian novelist Elena Ferrante as “an oracle among authors.” Here, in these four crisp essays, Ferrante offers a rare look at the origins of her literary powers. She writes about her influences, her struggles, and her formation as both a reader and a writer; she describes the perils of “bad language” and suggests ways in which it has long excluded women’s truth; she proposes a choral fusion of feminine talent as she brilliantly discourses on the work of Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Ingeborg Bachmann, and many others.
Here is a subtle yet candid book by “one of the great novelists of our time” about adventures in literature, both in and out of the margins.
“Everyone should read everything with Elena Ferrante’s name on it.”—The Boston Globe
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.