Like the three books that precede it in Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet, this brilliant conclusion offers a clamorous, headlong exploration of female friendship set against a backdrop of poverty, ambition, violence and political struggle. As Elena and Lila, the girlhood rivals whose relationship spans the series, enter the middle terrain of marriage and motherhood, Ferrante’s preoccupations remain with the inherent radicalism of modern female identity — especially, and strikingly, with the struggles of the female artist against her biological and social destiny.
The Story of the Lost Child: Book 4, The Neapolitan Novels: “Maturity, Old Age”
By Elena Ferrante. Translated by Ann Goldstein.