The great explorer Thor Heyerdahl, when asked to consider the question of borders, answered: “I have never seen one. But I have heard that they exist in the minds of some people.”
Heyerdahl, I think, would nonetheless have enjoyed two of the timeliest travel books to have appeared in the past six months; books that I would urge you to make room for wherever you’re heading this summer.
Devotees of Elena Ferrante, author of the bestselling novels of female friendship in post-war Naples, have readily accepted her argument that she writes under a pseudonym because it’s essential to her work. They were outraged when a journalist claimed last autumn to have “unmasked” the writer. In Frantumaglia (Europa Editions), a collection of letters and interviews whose publication was overshadowed by the row, Ferrante offers a glimpse into her working life and the way in which jumbled fragments of memory find fictional form.