Elena Ferrante
The Neapolitan Novels Boxed Set

The Neapolitan Novels Boxed Set

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I picked the first installment of Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet up from my local bookstore's "blind date with a book" shelf: the bookseller had described it as "a masterpiece you probably haven’t read yet." (Years later, booksellers can no longer say that with confidence!) The quartet revolves around the friendship between Elena and Lila; My Brilliant Friend begins when the girls are in first grade and carries them through adolescence. Thought-provoking, beautifully written, realistic enough to be quite difficult in places. But readers who love this LOVE IT. Originally written in Italian and beautifully translated by Ann Goldstein.

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My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan Novels Book 1)

My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan Novels Book 1)

This is the first installment of Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, which revolves around the friendship between Elena and Lila. This book begins when the girls are in first grade and carries them through adolescence. I picked this up from my local bookstore's blind date with a book shelf: the bookseller had described it as "a masterpiece you probably haven’t read yet. (Three and a half years later, booksellers can no longer say that with confidence!) Originally written in Italian and beautifully translated by Ann Goldstein. (Hot tip: I LOVED this series on audio.)

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The Days of Abandonment

The Days of Abandonment

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From the publisher: "A national bestseller for almost an entire year, The Days of Abandonment shocked and captivated its Italian public when first published. It is the gripping story of a woman's descent into devastating emptiness after being abandoned by her husband after fifteen years of marriage with two young children to care for. Olga finds it more and more difficult to do the things she used to: keep a spotless house, cook meals with creativity and passion, refrain from using obscenities. After running into her husband with his much-younger new lover in public, she cannot even refrain from assaulting him physically. Olga conveys her journey from denial to devastating emptiness—and when she finds herself literally trapped within the four walls of their high-rise apartment, she is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal."

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The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two

The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two

From the publisher: "The second book, My Brilliant Friend, featuring the two friends Lila and Elena. The two protagonists are now in their twenties. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila. Meanwhile, Elena continues her journey of self-discovery. The two young women share a complex and evolving bond that brings them close at times, and drives them apart at others. Each vacillates between hurtful disregard and profound love for the other. With this complicated and meticulously portrayed friendship at the center of their emotional lives, the two girls mature into women, paying the cruel price that this passage exacts." Add Audible narration for $3.99.

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Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

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Publishers Weekly says this one "Surpass[es] the rapturous storytelling of the previous titles in the Neapolitan Novels."

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Troubling Love

Troubling Love

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From the publisher: "A woman goes home to Naples after her mother’s mysterious death in a “tour de force” by the New York Times–bestselling author of My Brilliant Friend (Seattle Times). Following her mother’s untimely and unexplained drowning, which was preceded by a series of strange phone calls, forty-five-year-old Delia leaves Rome and embarks on a voyage of discovery through the beguiling yet often hostile streets of her native Naples. She is searching for the truth about her family and the men in her mother’s life, past and present, including an abusive husband. What she discovers will be more unsettling than she imagines, but will also reveal truths about herself, in this psychological mystery about mothers and daughters and the complicated knot of lies and emotions that binds them. The New Yorker says "Ferrante’s polished language belies the rawness of her imagery."

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