Well, my reading friends. It’s come and gone: publication day of the final installment of Elena Ferrante’s immensely popular Neapolitan Novels. If you’re anything like me — or, it seems, the rest of the literate world — you’ve already finished The Story of the Lost Child and are shaking your fist at the sky for more. (Unless you’re James Franco. Then you are admittedly late to the party.)
It seems that no author will ever replicate that most urgent, passionate, and compelling of stories of our two favorite friends Elena and Lila with the same addicting intensity. I mean, could there have been a longer summer than the one which preceded the launch of Lost Child? I feel you. That said, there are other immensely talented female writers writing stunning books about being a smart woman in what seems like a man’s world. And I think that you should read them circa now, especially if there is a Ferrante-shaped hole in your heart… whatever that would look like.
Here are five books that are kindred enough to help you fill the Ferrante void, but so original in their workings as to be uniquely their own. After all, nobody wants a knock-off. Besides, Ferrante wouldn’t abide by it. Some of them are quick reads, others much longer. These should be enough to tide us over until Ferrante publishes again. (Per favore, Elena?)