by Elena Ferrante and Ann Goldstein
Publishers Weekly Surpassing the rapturous storytelling of the previous titles in the Neapolitan Novels (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name), Ferrante here reunites Elena and Lil, two childhood friends, who dissect subjects as complicated as their own relationship, including feminism and class, men and women, mothers and children, sex and violence, and origin and destiny. As the narrative unfolds in the late 1960s and early '70s, the fiery Lila stays in Naples, having escaped an abusive marriage, and lives platonically with a man from the neighborhood, along with her young, possibly illegitimate son. The feisty Elena leaves town, graduates from a university in Pisa, publishes a successful book, marries an upper-class professor, and moves to Florence, where she gives birth to two daughters. Against the backdrop of student revolution and right-wing reaction, the two women's tumultuous friendship seesaws up and down as each tries to outdo the other. "You wanted to write novels," Lila tells Elena. "I created a novel with real people, with real blood, in reality." Are the two women less opposites than parts of a whole? The book concludes not with a duality but with a surprising new triangle involving Nino, another homegrown intellectual, who loves both women. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list *Starred Review* The third novel in Ferrante's Neapolitan series continues the engaging story of Elena and Lila, picking up where The Story of a New Name (2013) left off. While Lila is working to support her son following the failure of her marriage, Elena is enjoying the success of her best-selling novel. Though they have been disconnected for some time, when Lila collapses from exhaustion, Elena heeds her cry for help. Drawing strength from each other, they take on the terrible working conditions in the factory where Lila works. But their friendship continues to ebb and flow through marriages, affairs, children, and careers. Each has sought in her own way to escape the limitations of her upbringing, but while Lila does so from the confines of their rough Naples neighborhood, Elena's college degree and marriage into an affluent family open doors that take her farther away. Ferrante continues to imbue this growing saga with great magic, treating the girls' years of marriage and motherhood with breathtaking honesty while envisaging the turbulence of political and social unrest in 1970s Italy. Though originally planned as a trilogy, the story doesn't finish here, as this book ends with a hook that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.--Ophoff, Cortney Copyright 2014 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Library Journal Starred Review. Rising far above the melodrama of a typical coming-of-age story, this third in Ferrante's four "Neapolitan Novels" (begun with My Brilliant Friend) exhibits keen intellectual curiosity and heartfelt passion as it continues to explore the lives of childhood friends Lina and Elena. It is now the late 1960s, and class struggle, poverty, extremist politics, and feminist ideas reverberate in the minds and souls of our protagonists, as revealed by narrator Elena, who has left the neighborhood to attend college and eventually publish a novel. Lena, meanwhile, married young and has left her husband, allowing for a rigorous exploration of love, marriage, separation, and the role of children. VERDICT Superbly translated, this tour de force shows off Ferrante's strong storytelling ability and will leave readers eager for the final volume of the series. An excellent choice for book clubs.-Lisa Rohrbaugh, Leetonia Community P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.