Critics and readers are beginning to mention Ferrante’s name in the same breath as the Nobel Prize for Literature. Social media is also crackling with Nobel rumors—a clear sign that #FerranteFever is alive and well and has spread even to Sweden. Reviewers have praised The Neapolitan novels to the stars, calling them “a masterpiece,” “the first true literary classic of the 21st century,” “an extraordinary epic,” and the list goes on. At the start of September, The Story of the Lost Child debuted at number 3 on the New York Times bestseller list. Even more incredibly, My Brilliant Friend, published in 2012, appeared on the Times bestseller list at number 8 that same week. Best of all, each of the four books in the Neapolitan quartet currently appears on the National Indie Bestseller list.
This success happened because Elena Ferrante wrote a remarkably powerful story about two unforgettable women. It happened because Ferrante’s long story was translated to perfection by the best Italian-to-English translator working today, Ann Goldstein. But good books and good translations do not always will out. To be commercially successful they need to be published well and supported by passionate, intelligent bookselling.
The Neapolitan novels are flourishing because, together, independent publisher Europa Editions and independent booksellers across the country made it happen. The success hasn’t occurred overnight—it has been many years in the making and it is a testament to the power of independent bookstores in shaping the cultural life of this country.
From all of us at Europa Editions, thank you for all you have done for Europa. We begin our second decade convinced more than ever of the vitality and importance of our independent retail partners. Thank you for all you have done for Elena Ferrante’s books. Finally, thank you for your matchless contribution to our common culture of reading.