The New Yorker

Out Loud: The Mysterious Power of Elena Ferrante

Last year, James Wood reviewed two novels by the Italian author Elena Ferrante: “The Days of Abandonment” and “My Brilliant Friend,” the first volume in Ferrante’s Neapolitan series, about two women, Lila and Elena, struggling to escape the violence and misogyny of their Naples upbringing. Wespoke back then with Wood and Ferrante’s translator, Ann Goldstein (who is also a New Yorker editor) about those books, and about the mystery surrounding Ferrante’s identity. Since then, two more Neapolitan novels have been published in English: “The Story of a New Name” and “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay,” which came out in English earlier this month. On this week’s Out Loud, host Sasha Weiss, the literary editor of, speaks with Goldstein and the staff writer D. T. Max—one of many Ferrante devotees atThe New Yorker—about the radical emotional intensity of the series. Max says, of Lila and Elena’s friendship, “I can’t think of a counterpart in British or American letters. It’s so ornery, it’s so fraught, it’s so rich. It’s full of ironies, confusions, back-trackings, moments where you think you get it and then you don’t.”

You can listen to the episode above or by downloading it for free from iTunes. Click here for more New Yorker podcasts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *