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“Nothing quite like this has ever been published before.”—The Guardian
“One of the best books of this or any other year.”—The Independent
“Nothing you read about Elena Ferrante’s work prepares you for the ferocity of it."—Amy Rowland, The New York Times
“My Brilliant Friend is a large, captivating, amiably peopled bildungsroman.”—James Wood, The New Yorker
“Everyone should read anything with Ferrante’s name on it.”—The Boston Globe
"The real world can drop away when you’re reading her.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Some of the richest, loveliest prose I’ve read in many years.”—Seth Maxon, Slate.com
“Her prose is crystal, and her storytelling both visceral and compelling.”—The Economist
"[Elena Ferrante] is one of the most talented writers working today.”—William O’Connor, The Daily Beast
“Ferrante’s sentences have an incantatory power."—Pasha Malla, Slate Book Review
"Utterly brilliant."—James Daunt, Waterstones
"A satisfying and devastating culmination to a series that has grabbed readers’ hearts."—Buzzfeed


 

eCard-ferrante-TIME-DEF

Elena Ferrante is one of TIME‘s
100 Most Influential People of the year

See the full list here

The bard of Naples

by Lauren Groff

The story we hear most often about the Italian author Elena Ferrante is the story of her absence: her pseudonym and the deliberate choice to disengage from the world as an author. It’s odd, though, to imagine that a photo or biography could tell us more about Ferrante than her astonishing books, translated fluidly into English by the great Ann Goldstein, which together form a topographical map of an extraordinary mind. Her first three novels, Troubling Love, Days of Abandonment and The Lost Daughter, are knife-sharp, swift and disquieting; her four-novel Neapolitan story is an epic masterpiece, aKünstlerroman of sustained passion and fury. Elena and Lila grow up in macho mid–20th century Naples, fight for education, class and respect, become mothers and wives and lovers, incited by and resisting their own fiery friendship. Ferrante is a subtle subversive; the domestic, in her brilliant books, is a time bomb that ticks too loudly to ignore.

 


 

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Ferrante Indie Bestseller

 

 


 

About the Author

 

Elena Ferrante was born in Naples. She is the author of The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. Her Neapolitan novels include My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of The Lost Child,  fourth and final volume in the series.

 


 

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News & Reviews

 

La Gruyere

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Actualitté

Elena Ferrante passe à la télé : Naples, en 1950, entre classe ouvrière et féminisme

L’Italienne Elena Ferrante, connue pour ses romans napolitains, aura les honneurs d’une adaptation télévisée, dans une coproduction entre FremantleMedia’s Wildside et Fandango Productions. Les ouvrages racontent les aventures d’Elena et Lila, dans les années 50, dans les quartiers pauvres en périphérie de Naples. Deux décennies couvertes dans la vie de ces femmes et de leurs familles, avec en option classe ouvrière et histoire du mouvement féministe en Italie.

 

Naples – ActuaLitté, CC BY SA 2.0

L’entreprise est en cours de réflexion depuis deux ans, assure Domenico Procacci, PDG de Fandango Productions. Classés dans le top 10 des meilleurs livres de l’année 2015 selon le New York Times, les ouvrages d’Elena Ferrante ont connu un vibrant accueil auprès du public américain. « J’ai bon espoir qu’avec Wildside, nous puissions réaliser quelque chose de grand, très respectueux de l’œuvre de Ferrante et de notre culture italienne, avec dans le même temps, une véritable portée internationale », poursuit le PDG.

 

Saga sociale, L’amica geniale raconte donc les obstacles et les difficultés que rencontrent les deux jeunes femmes. « Je ne suis pas nostalgique de notre enfance : elle était pleine de violence. C’était la vie, un point c’est tout : et nous grandissions avec l’obligation de la rendre difficile aux autres avant que les autres ne nous la rendent difficile », résume l’éditeur français, Gallimard.

 

Naples, fin des années cinquante. Deux amies, Elena et Lila, vivent dans un quartier défavorisé de la ville, leurs familles sont pauvres et, bien qu’elles soient douées pour les études, ce n’est pas la voie qui leur est promise. Lila, la surdouée, abandonne rapidement l’école pour travailler avec son père et son frère dans leur échoppe de cordonnier. En revanche, Elena est soutenue par son institutrice, qui pousse ses parents à l’envoyer au collège puis, plus tard, au lycée, comme les enfants des Carracci et des Sarratore, des familles plus aisées qui peuvent se le permettre. Durant cette période, les deux jeunes filles se transforment physiquement et psychologiquement, s’entraident ou s’en prennent l’une à l’autre. Leurs chemins parfois se croisent et d’autres fois s’écartent, avec pour toile de fond une Naples sombre, mais en ébullition, violente et dure. Des chemins qui les conduiront, après le passage par l’adolescence, à l’aube de l’âge adulte, non sans ruptures ni souffrances.

 

 

La série sera lancée cet automne, sur HBO, ainsi qu’en Allemagne, en Italie et au Royaume-Uni. Pour la France, c’est Canal + qui en aura les droits de diffusion. Le projet repose sur les quatre livres, qui donneront en tout huit épisodes chacun assure donc une série de 32 épisodes, et sera conservé le modèle de narration adopté par Ferrante. Les deux jeunes femmes seront incarnées par des actrices italiennes, insiste la production.

 

Et pendant ce temps, à Naples, les commerces tentent déjà de tirer profit de cette annonce. La Fièvre Ferrante s’est emparée de la ville : librairies, restaurants, tout le monde tente de démontrer un lien avec les quatre romans publiés. L’effet est garanti sur le tourisme, assure la directrice de Europa, Danieal Petracco, qui avait découvert l’auteure.

 

 

 

Événement d’autant plus intéressant qu’au niveau local, les livres de Roberto Saviano avaient plutôt dépeint une ville de Naples sombre, en proie aux violences et au crime organisé. Pas de quoi inciter le touriste à se rendre sur place. Certes, les livres de Saviano sont plus proches de la réalité, mais, au moins, l’adaptation de Ferrante pourrait redorer le blason de la cité.

 

Elena Ferrante, dont aujourd’hui chacun sait qu’il s’agit d’un pseudonyme, particulièrement bien protégé.

 

Wildside poursuit par ailleurs d’autres projets d’adaptation de romans, puisqu’elle projette de porter le livre d’Emmanuel Carrère, Limonov, ainsi qu’Anna, un roman futuriste de Niccolò Ammaniti. Chose à noter, FremantleMedia avait acquis 62,5 % de Wildside en août 2015.

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Le Quotidien

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Le Matin Dimanche

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La Libre Belgique

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Sud Ouest

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Libération

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The New York Review of Books

The Violent World of Elena Ferrante

Naples, 1964; photograph by Bruno Barbey

At the start of The Story of the Lost Child, the fourth and final novel of Elena Ferrante’s remarkable Neapolitan quartet, the two women whose turbulent friendship forms the core of the books are entering the second halves of their lives, their first marriages behind them. Elena Greco, the studious narrator, has left poverty-stricken Naples and become an established author of novels and feminist essays. She has left her husband, a brilliant university professor and laborious lover from Italy’s left-leaning bourgeoisie, for the man she has adored since adolescence, a fickle charmer and social climber named Nino Sarratore. With Sarratore comes a return to Naples and the Mezzogiorno after years in the relatively ordered “European” Italy of Pisa, Milan, and Florence.

Raffaella Cerullo—known to Elena as “Lila” and the chief subject of her storytelling—has never left the rubble-filled streets of Naples. Electric and fiery, she appears to have achieved some stability, even financial security, for the first time in her life after the end of her marriage to a violent loan shark. She is living with the devoted Enzo Scanno, whom she has known since neighborhood school days. He takes care of her child and together they have started a computer company called Basic Sight.

That, at least, is the surface of things, which in the pseudonymous Ferrante’s work often conceals the violence and irrationality of life. “Love and sex are unreasonable and brutal,” she writes. For Lila and Elena, they generally are. Everything in the two women’s lives duly unravels—except their fecund, troubled friendship. They are inseparable even when distance intervenes.

Elena has the discipline to channel her gifts, as she shows in the writing of her story. But she could not have done so without the inspiration of Lila, who is the more brilliant but too mercurial to fulfill her promise, whether as an author (the story she wrote as a child, The Blue Fairy, mesmerizes Elena), shoe designer, or entrepreneur. The quartet is set in motion at the beginning of the first book by Lila’s disappearance, prompting Elena to seek to assemble all the frantumaglia, or fragments, that led to her departure. That effort, looking back over a lifetime, yields this work. Ferrante, in a rare interview with The Paris Review, has called frantumaglia the “bits and pieces of uncertain origin which rattle around in your head.” Artistic creation involves linking them through logical and magical patterns. As she writes in The Story of the Lost Child, “Linear explanations are almost always lies.”

The interacting qualities of the two women are central to the quartet, which is at once introspective and sweeping, personal and political, covering the more than six decades of the two women’s lives and the way those lives intersect with Italy’s upheavals, from the revolutionary violence of the leftist…

Read on the New York Review of Books

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Simply Reading Blog

On The Story of a New Name and the mystery of Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante is a name steeped in mystery. The author of the bestsellingNeopolitan novels wants to remain anonymous and so far has managed to do so. An incredible feat in this digital age. Ferrante explains this in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, conducted by email, writing that “physical absence from the public sphere makes the writing absolutely central”. Which is true. To a point. The obsession over Ferrante’s identity is becoming almost as prominent in the public space as the obsession with the books themselves.

The Story of a New Name is not a comfortable book. It is quietly sombre in its depiction of Lila and Elena, friends who live in Italy in the 1960s. It chronicles their tangled lives in detail, smoothly picking up the threads from My Brilliant Friend. Neither book strives to give you great pleasure, or fill you with the joy a simple story can bring. Instead the intricacies of female friendship at times overwhelm you with a sense of recognition and maybe even a little trepidation. Recognition of the complexities of female friendships – the quiet competition, the constant comparisons, the love for each other often amplified through pain. And the trepidation from a clear sense that this isn’t going to go smoothly for either character. Sometimes I feel that female friendships can be like running a race, only you are completely unaware of it until it you realise you have in some way lost in the other’s eye. Much of this disappointment is born in your own mind, but much is born empathetically or just entirely obviously. The subtlety of this relationship is the key here. Thats’s where the true beauty of Ferrante’s writing lies.

I will readily admit I’ve only read the first two Neapolitan novels since the series gained popularity last year. To be honest, while I enjoyed the first one, I didn’t rush to pick up the second. They are books that should be savoured, but they are also books that weigh heavily when you’re reading them. I need a break in between. I need to gather my strength to pick up the next one. I don’t know why they resonate so strongly, but I do know I’m not alone in feeling that way, and there is some comfort in that.

Ferrante’s writing is truly eloquent; once you start you ride a wave of underlying emotion so strong that you power through each novel. I feel we have so much to learn from her – or him – particularly on the intricacies of human behaviour. Elena and Lila are like two sides of the same spinning coin, each trying to land face up.

Much credit must go to Ann Goldstein who translated the stories from their original Italian, without losing any of the delicacy of the writing. I think translators are often so under-appreciated, don’t you? It must be so difficult to get beneath the skin of a story enough to rewrite it so beautifully in another language. There is great skill there.

There is much skill in this series and I’m grateful for it. Even if you shy from the popular books, try and read these. There’s something in them that makes you understand yourself a little better.

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Lit Hub

DO AMERICANS HATE FOREIGN FICTION?

ANJALI ENJETI ON THE SERIOUS LACK OF TRANSLATED LITERATURE IN AMERICA

Two years ago at the Jaipur Literature Festival in Rajasthan, India, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and American ex-pat Jhumpa Lahiri, who’d relocated from Brooklyn to the outskirts of Rome, slammed the American book market for its “lack of translation, the lack of energy put into translation.” The following year, Ferrante fever ignited with the release of Italian author Elena Ferrante’s fourth and final installment of the Neopolitan novels, The Story of the Lost Child. Curiosity over Ferrante’s true identity (the author writes under a pen name) transformed into fandom for Ann Goldstein, Ferrante’s translator.

In the two years since Lahiri’s speech, in the eight months since Ferrante released her concluding book in the series, have translations finally broken through in the American book market?

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