Entering a new epoch in your life can be challenging, particularly as you try to define yourself. There is a balance to be found between you defining yourself and others defining you, as demonstrated in The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante.
As Elena and Lina enter their twenties, their lives take very divergent paths. Elena goes to study at university at Pisa, applying her studious mind toward intellectual endeavors, including writing a well-received novel in one draft. Lina’s domestic life suffers from turmoil surrounding the propagation of children and her provoking her husband’s temper. As each young woman experiences the world around her, she finds new ways of defining herself within that world, as well as in comparison with each other.
Written in the beautifully elegant nature that captivated readers in the first novel of the series, this second installment continues to capture your attention and focus on the psychological intricacies driving each woman. While the pacing of this chapter was slower toward the beginning, it picked up pace dramatically after Elena and Lina summer at the beach. I greatly appreciated how Ferrante didn’t fall prey to the rapid summation of what occurred during the first book, which commonly happens in series, and instead continues on, assuming you were diligent enough to keep up with the events presented.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.