Two New Elena Ferrante Books, Including Next Neopolitan Novel, Are Coming This Fall, Sound the Alarm!
The world’s most mysterious author is adding to the conversation. Elena Ferrante’s two new novels are coming to the United States this fall, including the fourth book in her beloved Neopolitan novels series, titled The Story of the Lost Child. The second novel is Fragments, published in her native Italy in 2003 as La Frantumaglia, which contains a collection of letters from Ferrante answering fan questions. Not coincidentally, I’m sure, 2015 also marks the release of the 10th anniversary edition of Ferrante’s iconic work The Days of Abandonment.
The Story of the Lost Child is going to be big-time, to put it simply. The book follows previous novels My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay as the next chapter in her Naples series, telling the story of a lifelong, life-molding friendship between Elena and Lila. The Australian once perfectly described Ferrante’s work in this way:
Ferrante’s fictions are fierce, unsentimental glimpses at the way a woman is constantly under threat, her identity submerged in marriage, eclipsed by motherhood, mythologised by desire. Imagine if Jane Austen got angry and you’ll have some idea of how explosive these works are.
The Story of the Lost Child was already nominated for Italy’s most prestigious book award, The Strega.
Elena Ferrante, of course, is not the author’s real name. Her (or his?) identity has been shrouded in secrecy since the publication of her first novel. Speculation has run rampant across Italy, and now — as translations of her work hit the U.K. and U.S., among other places — across the world as to just who is the writer behind the Ferrante pen name who creates such exciting and compelling stories. One of the most common rumors is that Naples-born writer Domenico Starnone is the “real Ferrante,” which he vehemently denies. But that hasn’t stopped people from also pointing their fingers at his wife, Anita Raja.
The gossip swirl really hit a high in October 2014 when Ferrante was honored at the Rome International Literature Festival, and people could barely listen to Jhumpa Lahiri’s keynote, instead looking around wondering if the elusive author was in attendance.
Ferrante doesn’t seem to be running to the spotlight anytime soon either. She spoke out saying:
I believe that books, once they are written, have no need of their authors. If they have something to say, they will sooner or later find readers; if not, they won’t… . I very much love those mysterious volumes, both ancient and modern, that have no definite author but have had and continue to have an intense life of their own. They seem to me a sort of nighttime miracle, like the gifts of the Befana, which I waited for as a child… . True miracles are the ones whose makers will never be known… . Besides, isn’t it true that promotion is expensive? I will be the least expensive author of the publishing house. I’ll spare you even my presence.
It’s this respect for the traditions of literature and adding a little magic to the world that makes us love her even more.