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The New Yorker: Books To Watch Out For

Date: Sep 3 2014

The much-awaited third book in Ferrante’s stunning Neapolitan series continues to trace the struggles of two women—the intelligent, cautious Elena and the unpredictable, defiant Lila—to distance themselves from the poverty, violence, and misogyny of their Naples upbringing. (James Wood reviewed the first book in the series, “My Brilliant Friend,” along with Ferrante’s ferocious second novel, “The Days of Abandonment,” last year.) The core of the Neapolitan books—which were translated into pellucid English by New Yorker editor Ann Goldstein—is the ever-shifting friendship between Elena and Lila, who shadow each other’s lives in vital, sometimes damaging ways, even as their paths radically diverge. Discussing the series in a recent interview with Vogue, Ferrante—who keeps the details of her identity secret, and conducts interviews only in writing—wrote, “Relationships between women don’t have solid rules like those between men. I was interested in recounting how a long friendship between two women could endure and survive in spite of good and bad feelings, dependence and rebellion, mutual support and betrayal.” A fourth volume of the story is expected in the fall of 2015.

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